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Brigham Young University
FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC
MRS. FLORENCE CADDY.
Community E,2C, A.
' The life of Jeanne d'Arc is like a legend in the midst of history.'
IN OXE VOL UME.
HURST AND BLAOKETT, PUBLISHERS,
13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
All Rif flits Reserved.
HAROLD B. LEE LIBRARY
BRIG HAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY
IL Jeanne d'Arc's Country and Home
III. Journey to Vaucouleurs .
IV. TouL and Nancy ....
V. Through the Heart of France .
VI. Arrival at Chinon
VII. The Trial at Poitiers
VIIL The Loire
' IX. The Maid of Orleans ....
X. A Wonderful Week. — Jargeau and Patay
XI. The Coronation at Rheims .
XII. The Abbey of St. Denis 249
XIII. The King's Retreat. — Campaign on the Upper
XIV. The Royal Idol broken.— The Forest of Fon-
XV. Compiegne 314
XVI. The Prisoner of Le Crotoy .... 333
XVII. Journey to Rouen 346
Through thy cornfields green, and sunny vines, oh, pleasant land of France.'
The traveller from England in quest of scenes of
excitement, or change from the bustle of too eager
life, has just wearied himself over the plains of Belgium
or the north of France without finding either the sub-
limity or the calm he sought. He has just settled him-
self down to a comfortable discontent until he shall
reach Switzerland or Italy, or it may be the East, which
will give him either the stir or the repose he craves,
when he comes upon a gentle landscape of hill and dale,
the cradle of two well-known rivers. If he can curb his
inipatience so far as to examine it more closely, this
region will give him the elements of the change he needs,
which he may find in no greater completeness if he
travel further afield in search of stimulus or repose.
More and more we are learning to feel that it matters
little how far off we go ; we cannot leave this earth
whose distant parts we know so prosaically much about,
and we cannot quit our own shell. The best part of
our knowledge is that which makes our home more
spacious, and peoples it with the soul-friends whom we
have known by name from infancy, whom we should
be glad to know more intimately, whom we Avould wil-
lingly turn from shadows into statues and pictures.
Here the dead level of the north of Europe first
breaks into the outlying billows which Nature has
tossed into the petrified tempest of the Alpine chain.
The stately front of Rheims has reminded the traveller
by train of the heroine of the fifteenth century, and, with
a pause of pity for her fate, he passes on to some other
drift of thought — to the risks to man in woman's suf-
Before he dives deeper into this drift, it will do him no
harm to rub up his recollections of Joan of Arc, and to
try if all the histories he has read have given her equal
personality with the myths of early fable, or the beings
of fiction created out of smoke. Though he may have a
strong opinion as to the nature of her spiritual claims,
he may find his conception of her character dim and
broken as a reflection upon the surface of a rufiled lake,
and his liveliest impression of her produced after all by
He who remembers the late lamented Bastien Lepage's
picture of Jeanne d'Arc,* — arid who that has seen it does
not remember it ? — must want to probe deeper into that
wonderful life, that whichever way you read it is full of
mystery and glory.
Lepage, born in the department of the Meuse, natur-
* It was exhibited in the triennial exhibition at Ghent in 1880, the
year it was painted. It was sent from New York to be exhibited at
the collection of Bastien Lepage's works in Paris, 1885.
ally had keen feeling for this subject of Jeanne 'Arc, as
well as love for the soft Meuse landscape. His picture is
a great work in every respect. Jeanne stands under an
apple-tree in a green orchard, in the bloom of a spring such
as no one has more perfectly represented on canvas than
Lepage. She has turned away her head thoughtfully,
in reverent amazement and self-questioning from the
vision, which is still visible, and wonderfully painted.
Her cottage, surrounded by faithfully-studied trees, forms
The face and figure of the girl are a marvel of mixed
expression, one reads the dram a of her life upon her counte-
nance. She leans against the tree-stem as if all strength
had left her, she is so completely in the spirit as to be
taken out of herself; yet withal there is no tinge of the
pre-Raffaellite ecstacy or asceticism. The vision is too
real for inquiry : she accepts a destiny. Her dress, when
at last we think of it, is brown with a lavender-coloured
jacket laced in front, showing white linen. Her spin-
ning-wheel stands near. The vision shines between the
cottage and the trees in the exact situation marked by
tradition, for the landscape is a copy of the actual scene.
The mystic figures are those of a knight (St. Michael) in
golden armour holding out a sword ; a female saint,
wreathed with roses, clasps her hands imploring, another
kneels weeping. For all that it is most dreamlike and
supernatural, the painting is full of a wonderful realism,
and, like all Lepage's vigorous handling, the figure of
Jeanne is actual and solid. It brings the real woman
before us. I do not know if the figure is a portrait, but
it is very like one of the young girls of Domremy.
It is difficult with words to vivify Jeanne's image as
Lepage has done it in painting, yet I will try^_to do it if
my reader will trace with me the path of her interesting
hfe. I know the way, having travelled the red route in
this map, nearly inch by inch : much of it on foot, no-
where in a hurry, sometimes alone, sometimes' more
gaily, accompanied by friends or by members of my
family. I do not, however, propose to obtrude my
personal narrative upon the reader. If I cannot place
Jeanne before him, 1 can at least point out the things she
saw, the surroundings among which she moved. I am
setting before my readers the plain facts, just the things
that they probably do not know, if they have browsed
like giraiFes among the higher branches of history, the
poets and such-like. As a military leader studies the
nature of his ground, I think much might be gained
by treating history geographically. If I chatter too
much the reader can shut me up and put me in his pocket.
We will just get upon our ground, and afterwards we
will not travel much by train, which is a poor way of
seeing the country. My purpose did not allow of my
being hampered by any vehicle of my own, but a
double tricycle is a capital conveyance for two who
like to talk. These French roads are eminently good
for the cyclist.
Leaving Chalons by the side of the long rows of pop-
lars bordering its canal, parallel with the more prettily
and naturally wooded banks of the Marne, which is
pea-soup coloured here by the weir, where the fish leap
up so numerously, we begin to enjoy the country. The
light, friable soil is warm in colour, ranging from creamy
INTRODUCTION. • xi
white to golden gravel streaked with rich, foxy hues.
The low land is marshy, the water willowy : the mellow-
ing woods are flushed with autumn's crimson. The nar-
rowing Marne becomes rapid between the hills, spreading
again as they widen out. Amber trees rear their heads
against the blue sky, banded with light. The train
moves slowly over the partially-flooded meadows stock-
ed with geese and herds of cattle, some tawny, some
white, and some dove coloured steers like the oxen in
the south, all feeding among the autumn crocuses.
These hills are the Argonnes, eastern and western,
/ made famous by Dumouriez as the Thermopylaa ot
France, and made classical by Thiers in his ' History of the
Consulate and the Empire.' Here is red-roofed Loisy-
sur-Marne among the vineyards in the chalk hills, and
soon comes Vitry-le-Francois, with its pinnacled square
tower and the red roofs of its church, which is also
bristling with pinnacles, and the land levels itself again
and the sun waxes hotter. Here is the full tide of vin-
tage going on. Busy vintagers carry funnel-shaped
baskets at their backs, full of purple grapes, and empty
them into carts, while other men in blouses and women are
breakfasting under the cherry and plum-trees. The hill
slopes are all vineyarded, except where they rise crested
with fir and beech and many-coloured trees. Clear
young rilling rivers, with women washing linen in them,
flow among this sweet Vosges landscape, and now we see
the yellow Marne again. Now we get among the oolite
hills and woods, richer than ever with colour in this
pleasant hilly country of Val d'Osne, and as fully stocked
with white cattle.
Here is Joiiiville, and here, if strong and able to enjoy
a walk, I should advise the tourist to leave the train and
strike across the hills by way of the old Roman amphi-
theatre at Grand, and drop upon the valley of the
Meuse, halting for rest and thought at the retired and
peaceful village of Domremy-la-Pucelle. Little luggage
will be needed, no best clothes.
If circumstances are different and walking impracti-
cable, he had better go on from Joinville to Bologne,
where, while roaming about the fields between the
trains, he will have the opportunity of feeling the
southern force of the sun. Change into the train
(northward) for Neufchateau, and at Neufchateau
change again for Maxey-Domremy, and walk across
the meadows, with streamlets in them, mind you, tribu-
taries of the Vair, which it is not always easy to cross,
to the birthplace of Jeainie d'Arc. Murray says ' it is a
hot walk across fields to Domremy. Little to be seen
there.' Let us go and look.
Peep at the little church and the outside of Jeanne
d' Arc's house before putting up at the tiny Hotel de la
Pucelle, where you will get fresh milk when madame
has ' pulled the cow,' but where they will probably have
nothing, raw nor cooked, in the house for your choice,
except eggs, but they will forage for you among the
farms and make you comfortable in their primitive way
with goodwill and attention ; and, having things better
than luxury, one is happy, even though the basin one has
to use for a footbath is about the size and inconvenience
of a soup-plate.
There is another small inn further up the village,
INTROD UCTl ON. xiii
neater but not so well situated. You can walk about
there or sit on the bridge (of fifteen arches) watching the
early moonlight playing on the Meuse while your room
and supper are being prepared. They will probably fish
the first course fresh from the Meuse for you, and slay for
you a fowl, a barn-door mongrel, which they will serve
like a frog lying on its back with a very long neck and
pinions displayed ; but, with sauce a la grand'faim, it is
very good, and there are • worse pleasures in life than
waiting for and relishing a supper of this sort.
All the better if the place is primitive ; it is so, and
it carries you back four hundred years or more, to the
time of Joan of Arc herself. One sees the very way
in which she lived and was brought up. The girls who
pass you leading their cows home from pasture, or car-
rying a pitchfork, do so with an air, a dignity of manner
that bespeaks the countrywomen of a heroine.
The little Joans of Arc, some of them pretty, all neat
and clean with their close white caps and azure grey
pinafores, rush out of chnrch or school, clattering their
sabots, eager to play, yet still more anxious* to stop and
look at strangers with their wonderful clothes and paint-
boxes. For a stranger is a novelty ; the train truly
brings many French pilgrims, but these sweep through
Joan's cottage and the church, cross themselves, sneer
at the statue in the grove, which certainly lends itself
well to criticism, light their cigars, and are off again by
the next train.
The place seems to have slept, no, not slept, but sim-
ply wrought and rested for four hundred years. There
is time to enjoy oneself in it. The village clock outside
remains stationary at eight for hours sometimes, until
the verger remembers to wind it up again for evening
church : the neighbouring parish clock at Greux has the
same habit ; but when they clo tick one can usually hear
it, the place is so quiet ; and the striking is an event.
Who ever heard St. Paul's clock tick, I wonder ; except
our country-cousins who climb up on purpose ?
The Domremy church clock has a convenient practice
of striking twice, in case you should have forgotten to
count the first time. It has only one hand, for people here
do not shave time to a quarter-of-an-hour or so ; they leave
a good margin of half-an-hour to catch a train in, and then
foster patience ; for the trains take a long time to crawl
over a very little bit of way, stopping a long while at
each station, after they have slackened the pace for half-
a-mile before reaching it, for fear of collision with a train
that has not yet started from Pagny-sur-Meuse, the junc-
tion. This gives the station-master time to cease weed-
ing his cabbages and dress himself to receive passengers.
It will be understood that there are no express trains,
and the railway has not caused much change in the
habits of the people.
This calm, easy life is soothing after our metropolitan
hurry. Yes, one is really carried back four hundred and
fifty years ; simplicity of life, especially of the pastoral
sort., and the natural features and by-paths of a rural
landscape, are among the most immutable things that our
Here in Lorraine too we are on the borders of a for-
eign land whose contiguity has taught both peoples
warfare, as it did four centuries ago. Yet, for all that it
has been so often the frontier of war, Nature rights her-
self and heals the wounds. We see Jeanne d'Arc's life
and her surroundings just as plainly as we see her actual
dwelling ; indeed, they are less altered.
The wild flowers, charming, and several of them new
to us, are the very same that Jeanne twined into gar-
lands for the ' beautiful May ;' the cloud-berries and the
grapes grow where they then did ; Jeanne's favourite
vineyard haunt is still the ' vignoble de Jeanne d'Arc'
War may pass over the land again and again, but the
peace of poverty remains to it, — that poverty which is
industrious contentment ; not squalor, not wretchedness,
but perhaps the most blessed condition of any, the very
condition of life which our Saviour sanctified by holding
it here upon earth.
We ate our newly-beaten butter with our breakfast
at what seemed the late hour of eight, reasonable enough
at home, here it felt disgracefully idle.
The early church-service was over and the dense
white mist, which makes the spiders' webs hke patterns
strung in pearls, was lifting over the hill ranges and
melting in the blaze of day.
Again I seemed to see Jeanne d'Arc herself among
the young women with their long sticks or whips, leading
their cows with tinkhng bells afield.
I pictured her in a tall, finely-formed girl with her
head set with commanding poise upon her shoulders,
who returned my gaze with another full of modesty
and pride, as if she said, 'Yes, Jeanne was one of us.'
Her head only covered with her crown of thick braided
hair, her figure with a short skirt and blue-grey 'caraco;'
she needed no other adornment while she had her yonth,
strength, and beauty of health and fearlessness. She car-
ried her pitchfork like a sceptre.
We learn more by getting hold of the personality of
good and great people, than by merely reading of them
at second-hand through those who have only sought
them in dusty folios. ' Life is the best commentary
upon abstract truth,' says Sir Emilius Bayley. ' Life
brings truth home to us, shows us how others have
fought and conquered.'
DOMREMY. — THE CHURCH.
' J'avais treize ans ; c'etait en ete, vers midi, dans le jardin de mon
pere, et je n'avais pas jeune la veille. J'entendis cette voix a ma
droite, vers Teglise, et j'en eus grand'peur.' (' I was thirteen ; it was
in summer, towards midday, in my father's garden, and I had not
fasted the day before. I heard this voice at my right hand, by the
church, and I had great fear of it.')
Evidence of Jeanne (TArc.
Epiphany morning of 1412 dawned, in the ex-
treme east of France, with the maiden's birth who
was to fill the whole realm with the radiance of
faith, and revive hope in a crushed nation : her
birth who raised all womanhood in her person, to
whom succeeding generations of women have been
able to point as an example of what the female
sex, at its best, is capable in the lines of heroism,
patriotism, and self-devotion. An Amazon with-
out cruelty, a heroine who never lost her woman-
hood, a patriot who sought no self-advancement,
a prophetess who proclaimed only the power of
God. Ant. Astezan, of Asti in Piedmont, first
secretary of the Duke of Orleans, who wrote in
1435, says Jeanne d'Arc was born at the Epi-
4 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
phany. He is a trustworthy authority, who had
good means of being exact. Much of the super-
natural in her storv is the fruit of divers authors'
Infaoination. Yet more marvellous is the truth.
Ten centuries of sleep were ended, and, herald-
ed by this extraordinary girl, mankind rose to
clear away an accumulation of injustices and
wrongs, preparing the world for a new epoch, an
aurora of dazzling inventions, discoveries, and
results. The poets, Dante, Petrarch, Chaucer,
led the way for the discoverers and experimen-
talists, Columbus and the printers; but the pro-
phets and earliest reformers woke first, and, in
homely phrase, opened the windows and lighted
the tires, and let in the light of truth to show the
path of duty. Among these was Jeanne d'Arc.
We, w^ho live in a time when the world's man-
hood is relapsing effete into its second childhood,
with garrulity as its characteristic, can scarcely
conceive the flood of awakened energy that was
bursting, not only its night coverings, but all
bounds of home and city, to rush impetuous
through all distances.
The dark ages, the dispensation of martyrs,
ended in a blaze of glorious light. One female
figure closed it in, ' the light of ancient France.'
She began that crusade of patriotism for freedom,
that claim of independent nationality in Chris-
tendom, which has since been bequeathed from
bleeding sire to son. This was the close of the
Gothic age. Is the Renaissance that followed a
mimicry of the past, or an earnest of the millennial
DOMREMY.—THE CHURCH. 5
glory ? Probably both ; as in all things earthly,
good and evil grow together until the harvest.
Believers in Jeanne d' Arc's spiritual preten-
sions regard her as the culmination of the religi-
ous faith and superstition of her age, and all the
dark ages, ere Dante and Columbus gave new eyes
to Europe : a view certainly interesting to Hibbert
I wish rather to show the human side of
her character, believing that God works witli
us by human means, using natural causes, and
that He chooses His human instruments in the
same way, with deep reverence be it spoken, that
a wise man chooses his colleagues, a skilled work-
man his tools, or a sagacious monarch his coun-
sellors. It is a selection of the fittest for the
work which He is to direct. The task required
obedience and faith. Again the Lord sought
these in a woman ; again the woman's answer was
according to the pure and good woman's nature :
^ Behold the hand-maid of the Lord.'
But the task also needed strength of body, a
body trained in the routine and endurance of
pastoral life, united to the highest qualities of
the soul, a receptiveness and steadfastness of mind
incompatible with the overloaded and easily-upset
brain, the mind driven about with every wind of
doctrine blown upon it from every book. A
woman was the best instrument for the purpose
of closino^ the Ion 2: Avar. The whole of Jeanne
d' Arc's campaign shows that this work of liber-
atino; France was meant to be carried out without
6 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
bloodshed : it was the unfaith and wavering of
rulers brought on the battles that the blind bru-
tality of men precipitated.
Wherever Jeanne was permitted to go forward
in the way the spirit led her, towns capitulated
and armies melted away at her approach. We
know she was often frustrated ; yet, for all the
wilfulness of men, the Lord of hosts showed in a
marked way His saving power. God knew His
purpose of mercy would be unvalued, and chose
a fit instrument for all contingencies in a strong,
healthy human girl — yes, Chadband notwithstand-
ing, a thoroughly human girl ; no divinity, still
less a monstrosity or walking miracle ; no epi-
leptic nor maniac dreamer, but a healthy mind
in a perfectly developed frame ; a tirm, self-reliant
character with steady nerves, subject to no hys-
This is opposed to the general opinion of Jeanne
d'Arc, but I hope to show it true from history
and a careful view of the situations in which she
was placed. Without claiming for her any of
the Messianic attributes which Henri Martin —
who, with singular inconsistency, seems to be-
lieve in little else of supernatural — almost blas-
phemously assigns to Jeanne d'Arc ; again with
deep reverence I dare to say, her short life showed
how a woman may closely follow the Saviour,
from working life through childhood and youth
to martyrdom ; mingling with all ranks, yet loving
her brethren the most ; usurping no higli sphere,
DOMREMY.—THE CHURCH, 7
ambitious of no sovereignty, growing up in
favour with God and man.
Hume, improving upon the Burgundian Mon-
strelet, and following Voltaire, says Jeanne was
twenty-seven years old when she went to Chin on ;
all other authorities agree that she was only seven-
teen at that time, except a short biography of her,
fuller of mistakes than facts, published in the
Guardian in the last century as one of a series
of ' Famous Women of the World,' which gives
the date of her birth as 1407. The Encydopo^dia
Britannica blindly follows this so-called history of
Jeanne almost word for word in its article on France.
' The middle ages,' says Henri Martin, ' devel-
oped two great types of w^omanhood, the lady-
love and the ascetic Madonna.' Neither of these
was Jeanne d'Arc. And Michelet, vividly describ-
ing the epoch, points out that ' the agricultural
population, which now seems incapable even of
the blindly ferocious impulse of the Jacquerie,
brings forth Jeanne d'Arc'
The village of Domremy — it is scarcely more
than a hamlet — lies at the foot of a hill whose
table-land, called the ' Haut Pays,' stretches aw\ay
far westward, until it forms the first slopes of the
Champagne vineyards. It is a little commune of
one hundred and five houses, wdth two hundred
and seventy-five inhabitants, whose numbers are
annually decreasing. In 1856 they were three
hundred and twenty souls : a loss of forty-five
out of so small a population is a significant fact,
8 F001\STEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
especially when there is no apparent misery or
unhealthiness to cause it. Do the towns really
absorb the country population everywhere in like
proportion ? Tf so, it is time to change our teach-
ing, and for our philosophers to persuade the
world that it makes a bad bargain in exchanging
every bodily comfort, all the beauty of life, for
the gratification of having so many extra coins
slip through the fingers on Saturday afternoon.
But I must not be coaxed away from following
the footsteps of Jeanne d'Arc, or Jeannette, as
she was baptized and always called in her own
country, in her childhood's rambles, in the scenes
of her earliest day-dreams, where she played and
danced with her little sister Catherine, and her
young friends Mengette and Hauviette, and worked
and prayed in all the sweet piety of childhood.
With them we will walk through the Bois Ches-
nu, where a chapel, a sort of temple of white
stone, is newly built to the memory of the maid
among the vineyards, interspersed with apple-
trees, bordering on the woods where Jeanne heard
holy voices in groves haunted by the relics of a
pagan superstition. These glowing woods are now
mellowing into autumn beneath the tinted hill-
tops, known in old maps as the King's Forest,
with trees turning to orange and purply brown ;
Jeanne's much-loved native woods, Nature's own
cloistered churches, pierced in the diagonal sun-
shine with translucent hues of oold and flame
and russet green.
The path turns downwards from the new white
DOMREMY.—THE CHURCH, 9
temple across the mushroomed meadows to Cous-
sey, a neighbouring village, large enough to boast
a post-office and a gendarmerie naiionale ; where
there is a statue of Jeanne d'Arc near the wash-
ing fountain, and also a pretty church, whose
round-arched door, with clog-toothed mouldings,
and three-storied Romanesque tower, remain as
they existed in her time. These objects, and the
coned towers of the chateau of Bourlimont on the
hill beyond, form a pleasing picture, of which the
only things unfamiliar to Jeanne would be her
own statue and the zinc tricolour flag. One can
figure to oneself the tall, well-formed maiden,
' moult belle, of great strength and power,' as all
her neio:hbours witnessed of her. walkins: throuo:h
these fields, fearless among the horned cattle
browsing here, where great tawaiy bulls come to
drink at the large pond which often floods the
road. Fear is a form of emotion unknown in
Jeanne d'Arc's country.
There is much cattle in these meadows, some
black and white, some spotted like our Guernseys,
less shapely elegant than the Alderneys, some
dove-coloured or tawny, with dark velvet muzzles
and deep-blue calm eyes, mildly inquiring.
Jeanne calls them with that sweet voice of
hers — a true woman's voice, say those who heard
its mild, firm tones.
They are always ready to talk and tell all they
know, these good people, now as in the time
when messengers were sent round the country-
side gathering up gossip of the heroine at the
10 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
times of her trial and her rehabilitation, when,
however, they heard nothing but good of her ; or
in Jeanne's own childhood, Avhen these people of
Coussey pointed to the villages of Happoncourt-
au-Pied and Moncel on the hill-side, both famous
for a siege in 1372, sustained against the people
of Metz, in which men and women alike defended
themselves victoriously. Doubtless Jeanne had
heard of this ; it was recent enough, and such
exploits last long for talk.
M. Simeon Luce, in a valuable article on
' Jeanne d'Arc at Domremy ' in the ' Revue des
Deux Mondcs,' May, 1885, points out how Jeanne
grew up in a time of effervescence of public feel-
ing in the valley, caused by the marriage of
Jeanne de Joinville, the young French heiress of
the lordships of Greux and Domremy, to a Lor-
raine noble, Henri d'Ogeviller. The villages held
fast their nationality and their allegiance to the
fleurs-de-lis, and declined to be transferred to the
How these Coussey people gossip ! This shows
friendliness and leisure. We only gossip now by
newspaper : society papers in our class, more sen-
sational prints in a lower rank — both bad ; ours,
perhaps, the meanest and most frivolous, theirs
more transpontine and vulgar. We cannot give
up our gossip, though its friendliness is lost.
Here white-haired men have time to laucfh and
chat. It should be thus. Life should not be so
hard but that white-haired men in blouses can sit
and rest and talk over old times with their old
DOMREMY.~THE CHURCH. 11
friends. The little maidens, having changed their
grey felt slippers for sabots, come clattering out
of school, yet pretending to hide from the boys,
who have been for the last five minutes all agog
for mischief, and all have a little merriment before
The good 'route nationale,' leading from Cous-
sey home to Domremy, lined with grey-stemmed
poplars, brings fofward from the distance the
spires of foliage which group so well under the
moonlight by the Meuse, where the bends and
eddies of the puzzling network of rivers at Dom-
remy give an appearance of islets, ' a mazy world
of silvery enchantment,' its topography rendered
still more perplexing by the vertical reflections
of some of the tall stems in the water, and the
oblique shadows of others on the grass ; the play
of half-luminous shade and glinting lights below
emulating the translucent calm of heaven and her
glittering stars. Among these tangled lights and
shades sails the glory of the moon, dazzling and
darkening, hiding and enhancing, outshining the
lesser lights ; as the broader current of the Meuse,
sparkling like a silver riband with fringed edges,
moves paramount among all these mill-streams
and backwaters and rivulets which have no name
beyond the hills among which they bubble
Nature is full of play and laughter too, and we
are in the middle of it standin": on the bridire.
The scene is just as pleasant by daylight, when
kingfishers haunt these waters and gleam like
12 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
sapphires among the sedges ; the Me use rustles
sparkling over its Aveir beside the poplars in these
meadows where the ducks live so happily, and
geese and horses feed in the w^ide, woven-fenced
fields between the river and the railway. The
spiring groves of distant elm and poplar are thrown
out by the white clouds above the pointed tourelles
of the Prince de Bourlimont's chateau (the same
family lived there in Jeanne d'Arc's time), before
which rises the slope of the Bois Chesnu and the
Vineyard of Jeanne d'Arc. Tufted trees and
bushes with clumps of poplar fringe the right
side of the meadows, lying like a Mesopotamia
between the mill-stream and the Meuse.
These foreground meadows seem to be an
island of the Meuse, though one is never sure of
the topography hereabout, it is not apparent on
the surface, its mystery has to be unravelled. The
trees agreeably break the long line of hill of the
Bois Chesnu, where the purple of distance disputes
its colour with the gold of autumn foliage. Above
the foreground sedges a little green orchard, the
orchard of Bastien Lepage's well-known picture,
lies between us and the first cottages of the vil-
lage ; their tiled roofs, grey with age, aifording
perches to the pigeons whose nests are in the
church eaves. The white, rough-cast cottages
reflect themselves in what looks from here like
a third branch of the river, which one thinks may
be the mill-stream, but one is not sure of it till
afterwards. This little river is important in de-
termining Jeanne's nationalitv, which hns caused
DOMREMY.—THE CHURCH. 18
SO many disputes among historians who know the
map but not the place, and who cannot, for that
reason, take into consideration the double poli-
tical jurisdiction over this frontier land in the
To the left and north of this rivulet, in the
direction of Greux, it Avas Champagne, and of
course France ; to the right and southward, on
the side of Neufchateau, the land, belonging to the
Duchy of Bar, was part of Lorraine. This latter, the
more considerable portion of the village, contained
the house and the church of the D'Arc family,
and was of Lorraine nationality. But as this
territory belonged to the Duchy of Bar, royal or
' mouvant,' of which the King of France was
suzerain, the Dukes of Bar having been French
vassals since the time of Philip the Fair, Jeanne
was verily and truly the liege subject of the King
Rene d'Anjou, Duke of Bar, married in 1419
the heiress of Charles, Duke of Lorraine. While
retaining its rights, customs, and privileges, the
Duchy of Bar followed the destinies of Lorraine.
The new duke, being brother-in-law to the Dau-
phin, Charles VIL, sympathised openly or at heart
with the cause Jeanne d'Arc espoused; so that in
no case can she be truly said to have acted against
the cause of her country, her king, her feudal
lord the Duke of Bar, nor the Archbishop of
Rheims, of whose metropolitan church Domremy
was a dependency.
This village was called Domremy-sur-Meuse to
14 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
distinguish it from Domremy-la-Canrie and Dom-
remy-aux-Bois, situated more to the northward.
It is now known to the whole Avorld as Domremy-
la-Pucelle, named, as the Abbe Bourgaut, cure of
the parish, says, from St. Remi, father of the
French monarchy and the inspired maid who
saved it from ruin.
The little watercourse that' separates the two
territories is called the Brook of the Three Foun-
tains, from its triple spring at the west of Dom-
remy. Since the beginning of the eighteenth
century, its course has been altered ; it nowre-unites
its waters, divided for a short space, and falls into
the mill-stream very near the present bridge over
the Meuse, almost in front of Jeanne d'Arc's house.
The hill of the Bois Chesnu ends at this point,
sloping downward and away in graceful lines, open-
ing up another hill behind Jeanne d'Arc's house,
which is screened from us here by a grove of larches
and spruce iirs round the railed statue (bust),
which is perhaps the worst that has ever been
modelled of the Maid of Orleans, with its fea-
thered head-dress and costume of the fashion of
Louis XVIII. 's time, as libellous and contrary to
fact as most of her so-called biographies.
The next object in the view is the church, its
tiled roofs and gabled-ended tower surmounted
by a plain stone cross of Calvary. To the left
of the entrance-door is a bronze statue of the
Maid kneeling, with one hand raised to heaven.
It was executed by an artist of Lorraine, and
placed here in 1860.
DOMREMY.—THE CHURCH. 15
Beyond the church (we must now stand on the
other side of the bridge) lies the main street of
the village, with its cross road, called Rue de
risle, or Rue du Chateau de I'lsle, fronting a
cluster of cottages abutting on the river. A cross
here marks the head of the former bridge, a little
below the present stone bridge. Here, on the
opposite bank, stood formerly a chapel and an old
fortified manor-house, where Jeanne d'Arc used
sometimes to lead her cattle, to save them from
marauding men-at-arms. One buttress only marks
the site of these structures ; the place is now
overgrown with willows and poplars, between
which we see the village of Maxey by the station,
and the opposite hill-slopes beyond the meadows
by the railway. This is all that the eye can see
from the bridge in front of Jeanne d'Arc's home
and church. The essence of the place is peace —
peace and prayer.
Bear with me while I walk round the little
parish church of Domremy, pencil in hand, de-
scribing each object in succession in the manner
of a bailiff's inventory. It would be pleasanter,
prettier writing to indulge at this opportunity
with divergent (and easy) reflections on light and
colour, radiance and art, and their power over
the innocent mind of the young enthusiast. By
plentiful words, by talk of columns and stained
glass, of shrines, emblems, and pictures, I might
give an idea of the humble parish church as a
miniature cathedral. I might enlarge upon the
power of all good and beautiful influences (which
16 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
are of heaven) ; for, to one unaccustomed to the
wealth of beauty, and susceptible of passions at
once pure, soft, and elevated, their power is
The prosaic inventory might rise into poetry by
added angels' wings and lustrous hues. By throwing
back everything into the past tense, I might make
it seem that what is homely now and common-
place was glorious then, and conjure up an ima-
ginary Jeanne moving in the midst of an imagin-
ary combination of Flemish and Italian art in
fourteenth-century glory, with heart and soul
opened by these things to every lofty species of
Or I might urge the merely philosophic aspect
of the question, and dissect the young, untried
heroine's enthusiasm, analyse the food it grew
upon, and make a metaphysical study of her in-
spiration. But to what end ?
There is, after all, a higher poetry than full-
sailed words in view of a simple peasant maid like
Jeanne, who believed herself called to a great
work outside her knowledge of life. The clearest
outline, unadorned with flowers of rhetoric, is
most becoming to the simple maiden, explaining
the growth within her of a mental power of un-
usual sort, and its outcome in action.
The church is not now as it was then ; its very
orientation has been altered, but parts remain,
and the rest is of the same sort as the orimnal ;
the few differences are obvious, and relate to
Jeanne d'Arc's history and memory. The im-
DOMREMY.—THE CHURCH. 17
portance of her parish church in her history is
the influence it had in moulding her character,
and the love she bore to the place of worship.
She had a hunger for prayer and for the Holy
Sacraments. Enthusiasm such as hers must
necessarily be fed.
Turning to the right on entering the church,
hollowed in the shortened shaft of a plain round
column, we find the holy water stoup, the same
which Jeanne d' Arc so often used ; before this hang
the three cords attached to the bells. Jeanne
always loved the bells, and heard her ^ Voices '
more clearly when they were pealing.
Above the stand for the wax tapers is a modern
oil painting of Jeanne d'Arc kneeling by a chair
before her own latticed window. She wears the
short skirt, white shift, and laced bodice of the
country girls, a costume rather of tradition than
of fact. The picture is interesting but artless, a
circumstance explained when we hear that it is
one of three given and painted by a man with
much feeling for painting and enthusiasm for the
subject of Jeanne d'Arc, but little or no technical
The coloured windows are modern, but doubt-
less there were stained-glass windows, and of finer
colour, in Jeanne's time, filling her village-
bred mind with awe of the subjects and admira-
tion of the jewelled light. So much depends
upon the feeling one brings to the contemplation
of a picture, and how far removed one's mind is
from a position of criticism. The first window
18 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
seems to represent St. Elizabeth of Hungary,
by her lap full of roses. Then conies a window
to St. Margaret. Probably there always have
been coloured windows painted with St. Mar-
garet and St. Catherine, in whose names the
church was dedicated. These images would have
been Jeanne's delight, her jewels, her art gallery,
her ideals of glory and beauty, companioning her
through life from infancy, her spiritual friends.
It needed no more than the affectionate feelings
of an enthusiast to name the voices of duty and
comfort after these two beloved beings. Her
'Voices' were a personification of her religion.
These were the sweet names she knew; these
saints had been holy women, the godly matrons
whose example she was to follow.
In the turn of the transept hangs a sixteenth
century painting of the conversion of St. Nor-
bert ; this picture and another, in the opposite
transept, of the angels ministering to Jesus in
the wilderness after his baptism and fasting, Avere
brought from the Abbey of the Premontres at
Mureau (Mira Vallis), which formerly received
half of the tithes of Domremy. The ruins of this
abbey are visible near Pargny, to the westward
of the vale of the Saunelle. Below this painting
stands upright the ' Pierre tombale des fils de la
veuve Thiesselin, Marraine de Jeanne d'Arc'
There is a windoAv to the Madonna in this
transept. It was this that first opened my eyes
to the wrong orientation of the church. I find
this in my note-book : — ' I can't make it out that
DOMREMY.—THE CHURCH. 19
the sun shines more on and through these win-
dows now at eleven o'clock.' Asking the reason
of this, I found that the bulk of the original
three-aisled romanesque church had been pulled
down at the time the cemetery was removed in
1823 to a neighbouring hill-slope. The church-
yard previously lay between the church and
Jeanne d'Arc's house. This removal caused a
great alteration of the sacred building, whose
situation was almost reversed in consequence.
The three altars of the chevet, or choir, thus
became placed at the other extremity of the
aisles. The tower was opened so as to present
a doorway to the road, of which four unenriched
buttresses form all the architectural adornment.
Its square and massive form gives the idea of the
tower having been formerly a fortress.
The good Abbe Bourgaut, cure of Domremy,
slily suggests that its situation at Domremy has
caused this supposition, as if everything in this
country of the illustrious maiden warrior must
needs partake of a warlike character. Many traces
remain of the original structure of this church,
and the restorations were carefully copied from
the ancient model. The sites and chapels con-
nected with the Maid of Orleans have been kept
sacred and unaltered.
The altar of the transept is dedicated to ' Our
Lady of Victory.' A second painting of Jeanne
d'Arc, with a lamb by her side, weaving garlands
with her companions, by the same self-taught
painter, hangs above the stand of tapers.
20 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
Next coines the florid altar of the Virgin, in
gilt and painted stone in the style of Lonis XIV.,
and then the polygonal chancel of the high altar,
placed within railings and flanked by coloured
statues of St. Joseph and Notre Dame de Lourdes.
The three modern-painted windows, given by
Monsieur Dupont of Neufchateau, have Jeanne
d'Arc for their subject.
Numerous chaplets, banners, and other votive
ofl'erinofs are hunff in the roofs of the chancel
transepts and in all the vaulted arches. These were
sent from all parts of France, and brought here
by the Duchess de Chevreuse, in protest against
the fete held on the 30th of May, 1877, in honour
of Voltaire, Jeanne d' Arc's foulest traducer. Many
other ornaments are placed here by pilgrims ; they
all relate to Jeanne d'Arc, and are therefore ap-
propriate. They make the little whitewashed
The altar of the third aisle is dedicated to St.
Nicolas, patron saint of Lorraine. Near this is a
curious statue of St. Elophe in his cope, holding
his head in his hands. The saint was martyred
in the fourth century in this valley of the Vair.
The remarkable sanctuary which encloses his
tomb crowns the valley at the point where it
joins the valley of the Meuse, nearly facing
Railed in under the western transept window is
the plain old octagonal baptismal font. Archaeo-
logists date this font from the twelfth century.
In it the 'little Romee,' (for so Jeanne d'Arc
DOMREMY.—THE CHURCH. 21
was also surnamed, according to the old custom,
after her mother Isabelle, or Zabillet, as they
spelt it, Romee) was baptised by Messire Jean
Minet, cure of Greux and Domremy. According
to the ancient practice which subsisted till the
council of Trent, she was presented by a crowd
of sponsors. History has preserved the names of
five godmothers and four godfathers, who almost
all bore the name of Jean or Jeanne. The Maid
in her turn held a neighbour's child, that of
Gerardin, the Burgundian, for baptism at this
A third picture by the amateur aforesaid hangs
above the font. It represents Jeanne beholding
the vision of St. Catherine and St. Margaret.
Near this is a statue of St. Remi, patron of the
parish ; the Avindow above depicts the bishop, St.
Remi, in the act of baptizing three young people
in a tub. This is rather comical.
The confessional stands in its original position
below the old picture, from Mureau, of Our Saviour
with the ministering angels. The pulpit turns
the aisle. The sun, streaming through the coloured
window of St. Catherine, could not fail to bring
up many thoughts concerning Jeanne and the
heavenly light surrounding the appearance of
^ her Voices,' her council, as she called them.
Last of all is a double window labelled, ' St.
Remigius hujus parochias patro,' and 'Angelus
puerorum custos,' done by Tremotte of Neuf-
The chapel of the Du Lys family, relations of
22 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
Jeanne d'Arc, which is at the end of the south-
ern aisle, has an altar to St. Michael and Jeanne
d'Arc inscribed, 'Fille de Dieu, va ! va! va!' A
black tablet near the entrance-door of the church
marks ' Chapelle de N.D. de Domremy, oil Jeanne
d'Arc priait.' The church is seated with old-
fashioned benches, like those in an English coun-
try church. The arches of the vaulting are some
of them round, some slightly ogival. The irre-
gularities of the building are unusually interesting
as affording a clue to its history, and testifying to
the veneration felt by succeeding generations of her
fellow-parishioners for the heroine of Domremy,
their love and their poverty, giving precious offer-
ino^s out of their small store.
Each year, in those middle ages, on the occasion
of the fete of St. Remi, the cure would pronounce
from the pulpit the panegyric of their patron
saint, and describe with fervour the legend of the
baptism of Clovis, with the story of the Sainte
AmpouUe, the first anointing of a king of France,
perhaps with all the marvellous circumstances
added by Hincmar to the primitive narration.
The w^ondrous tale would not be without its
effect on the devout and impressionable child,
who pondered all these things in her heart.
JEANNE d'aEC's COUNTKY AND HOME.
Bonne fille ; honnete, chaste, et sainte, parlant en toute siraplicite,
selon le precepte de I'Evangile : ' Oui, non ; cela est, cela n'est pas.'
Sans manque. (A good girl ; virtuous, chaste, and pious, speaking
in all simplicity, according to the precept of the Gospel : ' Yes, no ;
it is, it is not.' Without fail.)
Evidence of Jeanne cV Arc's neighbours.
The country-side in these north-western Vosges
teems with memories of Jeanne. At CefFonds,
near Montierender, where her statue crowns a
public fountain, the actual house of her father is
still shown. The family seems to have taken
its name from the villao:e of Arc-en-Barrois,
situated on the Aujon, an affluent of the upper
Aube, at twenty-six kilometres to the south-west
of Chaumont. During the second half of the
fourteenth century w^e find, in ancient records,
many individuals of this name established along
the valley of the Aube and its tributaries ; among
them a canon of Troyes, the cure of Bar-sur-
Seine, and the chaplain of the royal chapel of
N.D. in Chaumont, and, lastly, Jacques d'Arc,
father of Jeanne, born in 1375 at CefFonds; thus
decisively fixing her paternal family in Cham-
24 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
pagne. In 1398 a lady belonging to this family,
bearing also the name of Jeanne d'Arc, held the
manor of Sarrey, a village near Chaumont. She
married into the noble family of Saulx.
Jacques d'Arc figured in the first rank of the
notables of his village, and in 1427 he was offi-
cially employed in maintaining the rights of the
people of Domremy against certain exactions,
before Baudricourt, Governor of Vaucouleurs.
At Martigny testimony was gathered favourable
to Jeanne's rehabilitation, in 1455, after her trial
and condemnation in 1431. At Autreville a statue
has been erected in her honour. Her godmother,
Jeannette Thiesselin, was from Sionne ; from
Frebecourt, Etienne de Sionne, cure of Rou-
ceux, another witness at the second trial, on
which side it is needless to say, since all the
evidence was warmly in her favour.
Jean Hordal (a descendant of Hauvy, niece of
the Maid of Orleans, the daughter of Pierre
d'Arc, who married Estienne Hordal) speaks of
going for change of air, after his illness and the
loss of three of his children, to Domremy, and
then to ' Rup (Ruppes), Neufchateau, La Motte
et autres lieux oii la dicte Pucelle avait hante et
frequent e.' Among her little pleasures and pil-
grimages, Jeanne often visited the chapel of Notre
Dame de Beauregard, built in the fourteenth or
fifteenth century, which crowns the vine slopes
above Maxey at the junction of the roads from
Ruppes and Autreville.
In the shade of the aged elm, which covers the
JEANNE D'ARCS COUNTRY AND HOME. 25
threshold of this chapel with its branches, a wide
landscape of beauty is visible. In the valley
from Neufchateau to Vaucouleurs one can count
twenty villages, some nestling in the vale, some
eyrie-perched on hills. The chateau and chapel
of Bermont are on the opposite hill. Domremy
lies low to the south-west.
From Beauregard one has a fine view of the
sunset and wide-waving hills of the Vosges before
they break into actual mountains. The turf on
these breezy downs is decked with Alpine flowers,
gentians and deep-rose pinks ; harebells and many
others rise elastic from the tread ; one's foot and
heart are both so light up here. Fruit-trees are
planted all about among these slopes, giving the
country the aspect of a garden in the spring,
though its time of glory is the autumn. One
should make a point of seeing these vine-lands in
October, while the vintage is yet joyous and full
of reward for toil.
One way back to Domremy is through Maxey
and across the bridge over the Vair to Greux,
a village larger and more prosperous than
Domremy, which still, as in Jeanne d'Arc's
time, ' makes one with Domremy. The prin-
cipal church is at Greux.' These are Jeanne's
words. Greux and Domremy are both exempt
from tax : ' Neant a cause de la Pucelle.'
The tax-collector's hand is stayed for love
of her, long dead, whose good works follow
Charity never faileth, but ' charitable work is
26 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
not easy. Time, thought, rest, pleasure must be
sacrificed to it. Deception and ingratitude must
not discourage the giver.' Jeanne d'Arc gave to
Domremy and to France the 'charity of ripe
thoughts.' In those disturbed times even the
secluded and humble village of Domremy be-
came sometimes a theatre of war. Not only the
childish play in which we hear of Jeanne's bro-
thers taking part against the children of Maxey,
who were furiously Burgundian. Her historian,
Miss Parr, says Maxey (Marcey she calls it) was
two leagues off.
This trifle shows the difficulty of writing history
from books and maps only. It is a kilometre dis-
tant, about five furlongs. Village children cannot
habitually meet to play at fighting from two leagues
apart. Sometimes on the approach of a troop
of partisans of the opposing faction there were
skirmishes for the defence of their property and
houses. Jeanne said she often helped to lead the
cattle to the meadows, or to the fortified place
called Chateau de L'Isle, 'for fear of the Burgun-
dian foragers. After I reached years of discretion,
I did not generally tend the cattle,' she continued.
These attacks had nothing to do with the
English; this was the Burgundian frontier. But at
one time came more than a skirmish, and all the
inhabitants of Domremy fled to Neufchateau, at
a distance of eleven kilometres (about seven
miles), driving their cattle before them. The
Abbe Bourgaut, cure of Domremy, from whom
in conversation I learnt most of the traditions
JEANNE D' ARC'S COUNTRY AND HOME. 27
concerning Jeanne connected with this part of
the country, says it was when Jeanne was about
ten years of age that she took refuge with her
flxniily at Neufchateau. Wallon, in his book,
— which is one of the best records of Jeanne's life
that we possess, — puts the date in 1428, when
Jeanne was sixteen years old. He also says it
was after her first journey to Vaucouleurs to ask
Baudricourt to send her to the service of the
king. Every writer dates it differently.
It is likewise a disputed point whether the
family staj^ed four days or a fortnight at Neuf-
chateau, where they took refuge with a good
woman named La Rousse, the mistress of an inn,
to whom Jeanne made herself very useful. A
little maiden is often very handy at ten years old,
but it is more likely Jeanne was sixteen, as she
led to pasture the cattle her parents had brought
there. It is from her stay here that the story
arises that she was the servant at an inn. It
seems, from her own declaration, that she Avas
fifteen days servant at the inn at Neufchateau.
Neufchateau is a small, neat, insignificant
town built on a hill crowned with church
towers, and set in a hilly, arid landscape with
rocky valleys and sparse verdure. It is a whole-
some town, of 3,920 inhabitants, with gardens
on its slopes, and pleasant views from the win-
dows, in which blue pyramidal campanulas grow
like flowery curtains. The school-children sing
hymns, which echo down the quiet streets ;
men weave hempen cloth by hand, and are
28 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
content to do it ; and long carts piled high with
grapes let fall their luscious load into the cellars
beneath the houses, shooting down the piles of
grapes as easily as we drop letters into the post.
In the hill-country hereabout the grapes are some-
times frost-bitten ; but they seem to make a very
fair wine all the same. There are two churches
dating from the eleventh century : St. Christophe,
which has been restored, and St. Nicholas, re-conse-
crated in 1697, built above an early subterranean
church. In the church on the top of the hill,
where it rises abrupt and rocky from the valley,
is a Calvary, with life-sized coloured figures, and
two good pictures, one a Vandyke, the other a
crucifixion of Caravaggio-like power and darkness.
A replica of this is at Toul. None of these things,
however, are very remarkable. The statue of
Jeanne d'Arc is the most interesting object in the
Doubtless the family of Arc \vere glad to return
home. Had it not been for their cattle, they
might as safely have stayed at Domremy, for, by
the appearance of Jeanne d' Arc's house and the
few other cottages of that date that remain in
the district, they were built as strong as little
fortresses. Their homes were really their castles,
as doubtless they had need to be. But the church
had been set on fire by the marauders and
greatly injured, to Jeanne's grief and pious
The house where Jeanne d'Arc was born, and
where several members of her ennobled family of
JEANNE D'ARCS COUNTRY AND HOME. 29
Du Lys dwelt since her time, is, externally, a
rough-cast cottage with a low, lean-to roof, form-
ing a kind of half gable of broad span. The house
is not quite straight in front, the elevation forming
a slight, nearly imperceptible angle.
Michel Montaigne visiting the place in 1580, in
the course of his journey to Italy, says of it, 'The
front of the cottage where Jeanne d'Arc was born
is all over painted with her deeds, but time has
greatly injured the painting.'
No trace of this painting remains ; but there
are several ornamental additions made by Claude
du Lys and others, which are interesting as
relating to Jeanne d'Arc.
The cottao-e is set low in the s^round : it has
probably sunk in the course of ages, as other
heavier buildings do. This cottage has sunk one
step (about eight inches) within five centuries :
had it been a church or castle, it would probably
be deeper in the ground by this time. The low
door has three escutcheons over it, and a shrined
niche with a statue above them. The central
shield bears the arms of France, with the legend
in Gothic letters, with fleur-de-lys between.
The right-hand shield is charged with the bear-
ings given by Charles VII. to the family of Jeanne
d'Arc, two golden lilies in an azure field, between
them is a sword sustaining a crown on its point.
The shield to the left bears three ploughshares
and a spur-rowel, the arms of Thiesselin, whose
30 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
daughter married, in 1460, Claude du Lys, then
proprietor of the house, grand-nephew of the
Maid of Orleans. The top of the ogive is adorned
with symbols of the pastoral work Jeanne follow-
ed before she bore arms : corn and the vine, with
the device, -|- Vive -|- laheur -|- and the date :
f mil t iiii'' f iiii'^^ f z f (1481).
This Gothic niche was destined to receive the
statue of cast metal, precisely similar to an
image in stone, which is to be seen in the first
room in the house, and which dates from the
time of the maid's rehabilitation in 1456, if
we may trust the account of it by Charles du
Lys, Advocate- General at the Cour des Aides
under Louis XIII. Tradition says that the statue
(the stone image) was formerly coloured and gilt,
and that it was placed in the parish church at
Domremy. It was said to be sculptured by an
artist of Lorraine from a young relative of the
heroine, who bore so striking a resemblance to
the Maid that she was called 'the little Jeanne.'
The figure has many points of resemblance to
the original statue formerly on the bridge of
Orleans. They were possibly by the same hand.
Instead of the ' cheveux rondiz ' that the heroine
wore, she is represented with her hair flowing
over her shoulders and below the waist. The
hands are joined in prayer. The face, seen in
profile, has a certain calm beauty of expression,
but, though pleasing, we are not to take it as
an actual likeness of Jeanne d'Arc.
The lower windows of the house are small, as
JEANNE D'ARdS COUNTRY AND HOME, 31
was the necessary custom of those days, when
war and rapine were the habit of the times.
Interiors were then more gloomy, exteriors more
forbidding. We have flowers and muslin now,
instead of prison-like bars ; life is gentler. The
mullioned ' croisee ' window above the kitchen
belongs to the large garret, occupied as a bed-
room by Claude du Lys, cure of Greux-Dom-
remy in the first half of the sixteenth century.
The dwelling-house consists, besides, of four rooms
upon the ground-floor. One enters at once from
the outer door upon the kitchen, the living-room
of the family, and also, according to the general
present custom in France in this rank of life,
the bed-room of the parents of the family, the
bed being curtained within an alcove.
Here Jeanne was born, and here she was
brought up by her pious mother in habits of
obedience, work, and prayer. Jeanne did not
break her family ties in wilfulness ; it was against
her own will that she left her father and mother,
but she bent her will submissive to a higher
call, and made of these pure earthly afl'ections
a precious sacrifice. She loved more, not less,
than others ; but, her heart being greater, she
was able to love the Lord better also.
The kitchen was warmed by the hearth, where
Jeanne is said often to have slept on the floor
when she had given up her own room to passing
strangers or poor pilgrims ; for in this house
dwelt much of ^ the charity that is in poor men's
32 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UABC.
The iron plaque in the fireplace bears the cross
of Lorraine, ' fleur cle lysee.' This is later than
Jeanne's time, but they say the wooden bracket
(poutre), to hang a lamp by the fireplace, is the
same that was used by Jeanne and her family.
The main beam of the kitchen roof still remains,
notwithstanding the depredating knives of pil-
grims, and there are the same two recesses for
kitchen utensils. The statues and museum fur-
niture of the room are interesting, and furnish
and enliven the room, though they would perhaps
suit the museum better. A reduced copy in
bronze of the statue of Jeanne by the Princess
Marie of Orleans was given to the cottage in
1843 by King Louis Philippe, her father. The
princess superintended the making of this copy.
Jeanne's own inner room at the back of the
house, now more than half underground, strikes
chill and damp, though the baking-oven just
outside the house warmed it periodically. The
now paved floor was earthen in her time. Here are
the self-same beams and the wardrobe-cupboard
that she used, and the two small beams or sticks
nailed in the roof-beam where she hung her
clothes, her simple wardrobe. The tiny window
is further shaded by the honeysuckle twining
round the trees that now darken it, and the
broad aristolochia leaves that embower this side
of the garden. But what ecstatic light entered
by this small aperture and filled Jeanne's soul?
Little light can pierce this dense greenery now.
Only the eastern sun of midsummer morning is
JEANNE D'ARC'S COUNTRY AND HOME. 33
fociissed into aflame through the narrow opening.
Probably there was only a curtain between her
room and the kitchen where her parents slej)t.
The door is walled up leading to her brother's
room, which is much more cheerful and better-
lighted than Jeanne's ; boys being made more of
in France than girls. There Avere, however, three
sons in the family, and only two girls, even if it
is certain that Jeanne had the young sister who
is mentioned as Catherine by some chroniclers. The
fuchsias of the nuns who take care of the cottage
are housed in the brothers' room now when cold
weather sets in. Their roses, vines, and cabbages
all grow together outside in well-cultivated mixed
borders as pleasant as the more strict front gar-
den, surrounded by spruce fir-trees, a garden of
asters and carnations, rock anemones and pansies,
and a fine scarlet pyracanthus, what country folks
call candleberry myrtle, and the French call
'burning bush,' which seems to have set on fire
the Virginia creeper trailing up among the sculp-
tured escutcheons of the front. The garden is
watered by a branch of the Trois Fontaines, whose
clear brook runs under a wooden bridge behind
The venerable cottage is set back from the road
between two houses, one of which contains in its
salle de reception a museum of objects of interest
relating to the heroine ; the other is the village
school, salle des filles, where three sisters of the
' congregation enseignante de la Providence ' (de
Portieux) direct the primary school. They also
34 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
visit the sick of the village, and act as friendly
guides to pilgrims who come to visit the illustri-
ous cottage under their care. Of the three kind,
good sisters here, the suiyerieiire teaches the chil-
dren and shows the museum, which has a book-
case full of literature relating to Jeanne d'Arc
(Southey's poem is the only English book) ; the
infmeure chops wood ; while the juste milieu cleans
the carrots for the soup. They sing the service
sweetly in the church, leading their little choir ;
they do their marketing, and also make the place
pleasant to strangers with their kindly talk. The
saperieuve gave us leave to sit in the garden in
front of the house, where we sketched the portal,
with its escutcheons, whose lost blazonry is out-
rivalled by the exquisite hues of the Virginia
creeper that trails among its sculptures. Here,
before the railins^s which connect the buildino^s
and protect the cottage, is the precise spot, so
says X\\Q cure, Abbe Bourgaut, where Jeanne saw
her first vision.
The church is close by — so near, that while on
her knees, astonished and all trembling with awe
and piety, she could hear the girls' voices singing
in the village church. The nuns, however, describe
the place where Jeanne saw her first vision, and
others, as having been in the side garden in front
of her own window. They picked me some pansies
in remembrance of the spot. I incline to their view
myself. I hardly think she would have knelt so con-
spicuously in front of the house, or the circumstance
would have been more observed. Still, arrange-
JEANNE D' ARC'S COUNTRY AND HOME. 35
ments and o^rowth of shrubs and other thino:s
may have been different. The tradition may have
been handed down from her own account of it to
For all its present seclusion, historians are
wrong in supposing Domremy to have been in
Jeanne d' Arc's time as isolated and retired as it
has been in later years. The Roman road from
Langres to Verdun, a high-road much traversed
in the middle ages, passed directly through the
village, and this was one of the most important
routes between the great Burgundian dominions,
whose heavy wine-carts moved by it from Bur-
gundy to Flanders. By the same road arrived in
Burgundy the cloths of Ghent and Ypres, besides
the travellers and personages of importance who
journeyed to and fro, and all this traffic passed
immediately in front of the cottage of Jeanne
The railing defends the garden from the school-
children, who remind one of the young Burgun-
dians of Maxey in Jeanne's time. How the little
Philistines rushed out of school, and daily fell
upon us to see all there was to see — books and
paint-boxes ! How they were interested in the
stranger ladies, and how they loved their Jeanne
and their home, and, in their simple-hearted,
child-like way, their church and their God !
They turned away to admire a gay three-horsed
wagonette full of eight highly fashionable pil-
grims, whose wide-open minds were soon satisfied
on all points connected with Jeanne d'Arc : they
36 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
had read the latest histories, and knew everything
It was bliss to sit in the calm shade and scent
of balsam iir-trees, surrounded by rock anemones
and red roses, not full, but very sweet. The
purling brook beside us, the hallowed house in
front, above us the song of birds whistling good-
night, while a waggoner cracked his whip in air
as he drove his team of two horses and a bullock
home. Women were going home with full hottes
of grapes at their backs, carts passed piled high with
root crops, and wine-carts with their great tubs of
purple heaps ; the cattle and the green hay, all
were going home. We are accommodated with
chairs and footstools by the sister, who is now^
gone out with her provision-basket on an errand
of charity or necessity, perhaps both. The sujje-
rieure^ after neatly preparing the vegetables, which
Avere brought to her clean-w^ashed, is reading and
resting in her porch. Hoav calmly she sits and
waits Avhile we work in the WTcaths and tendrils
among the sculpture ! Hollyhocks, carnations
supported by a light hoop between two canes,
periwinkles, and trails of crisp fading aristolochia,
with harebells in the grass, till up the details, each
adding a pleasure. The little church on the right
hand walls us in with a sense of holy calm, shedding
its mute welcome on us strangers and pilgrims.
This is enjoyment, sure, to anyone. Ah, what is
it to a train and cab and telegraph-ridden Lon-
doner ? Few English pilgrims come here, how-
ever ; the accommodation is poor. They say about
JEANNE D'ARCS COUNTRY AND HOME. 37
ten English a year may come, which includes
Americans, but they do not stop. Out of hun-
dreds of pilgrims — I may say thousands, accord-
ing to the visitors' book — I saw only one British
name, a Scotch one, besides our own.
The Angelus is sounding, our landlady is pluck-
ing a duckling for our supper ; there is time for an
evening walk up the hill, a tough climb through a
sweet wilderness of shrubbery to the gentian-stud-
ded downs on a yet unvisited hill to see the sunset.
Everything grows so naturally and picturesquely
hereabout. If people see a lovely wild rose-bush
trail, all over scarlet hips, they leave it alone in its
glory to refresh the next comer. Up through a
yellowing hazy glade of silver birch, the woods be-
hind their stems aflame with autumn, and the
setting sun reflected on moist leaves, the early
hunter's moon above.
A man, a carter, saluted us in German. He
was glad when we answered him in the same
language : he loved to pour forth in his native
tongue. We soon knew all that man's history,
the tale of his journey to America and his return.
They are an innocent and primitive people
here, who have not heard much of England. Un-
like Jeanne in that, they do not hate us, nor think
ill of us : though Hordal, Jeanne's relative, re-
lates, ' Et si en bonne compagnie j'ay ouy objecter
aux Anglois, que Judas, le prototipe des traistres,
estoit Anglois.' *
They take every stranger to be Alsacian, and
* 'And thus in good society I have heard it objected to the English,
that Judas, the prototype of traitors, was an Englishman.'
38 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
they mostly accost them in German : not the people
of Domremy village, they are entirely French, but
the peasants on the roads and in the fields away
to the eastward.
Life here takes us back a hundred years; and why
not two, or three, or four? Yes, it is just about
that time. ^ Or more,' cries F , who spies three
truncated pillars or ' druidical monuments.' We
make for them. Lo ! They are sacks of potatoes
filled and standing upright against the red sky.
How many discoveries are mistakes : how many
are merely acknowledgments of our (previous)
Humbled by our archaeological error, we work
our way thoughtfully through the copse, among
the purpling foliage laced with blackthorn
stalks, hoary with grey lichen, and down to the
village, where the people are playing pleasantly
with their children by their supper fires, the
younger men and girls standing on the doorsteps,
chatting, or moving ofi* in pairs towards the
If I have been lengthy in describing the church
and Jeanne's home, it is because these had such
a significant bearing on her after career. One must
take into account the home influences, the earliest,
the strongest, and always especially strong with
the French people. What is so soothing as that
mild monotony of daily life ; that sweet half- tint
on which our history is painted? ' What novelty
is worth that sweet monotony where everything
is known, and loved because it is known ?'
JEANNE UARCS COUNTRY AND HOME. 30
We learn to love Jeanne more, to understand
her better, and the age which reared her, when
we see her early life, in the common and every-
day aspects which make up the sum of life : we
are familiarised with the minutia3 of her people's
ways, their belongings, their habits, wants, and
wishes, as we tread her floors, and stand within
the very walls of her home, by her fireside, or
look forth from her windows. We think of her
in her happy, peaceful life, her Miealthy human
passion, without the morbid craving for the ex-
ceptional,' which makes young dressmakers and
factory girls, and those whose lives are a sordid
tunelessness, or, at best, a tune played only on
one string, devour romance and live mentally in
the midst of false creations without due prepara-
tion for the higher life, which is to come to us all
some day. Because she lived excellently, working
at well-doing, therefore the exceptional came to
her, who was framed and bred strong enough to
carry out exceptional work without fainting
JOUENEY TO VAUCOULEUES.
' Et qui est ton seigneur?' dit le sire de Nouillonpont. ' Le roi du
ciel.' (' And who is thy lord ?' said the master of Nouillonpont. ' The
king of heaven.')
We two pilgrims left Donireiny at ten a.m. on
October 12th, having a walk before us of twenty
kilometres to Vaucouleurs (twelve miles and a
half), with the train at hand to help us, if we
pleased. The friendly villagers assembled in the
road to say adieu. We had been there some days,
and they knew we admired and loved their
Jeanne. They forgot that the English destroyed
her. Outside the village of Greux, the larger
sister parish of Domremy, a hill-path to the left
gave promise of a pleasanter walk to Vaucouleurs
than the route nationale^ besides passing directly
by Bermont, formerly called Bellamont from its
beautiful landscape, and Burey-la-C6te, scenes of
much interest in the life of Jeanne d'Arc. Could
anything be pleasanter than a forenoon walk
through vineyards painted by October, with a
few purple branches left hanging for the gleaner
a trifle frost-bitten, perhaps, but SAveet and good.
JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEURS, 41
The delicious woods were enjoyed with the keen
feeling of its being perhaps the last of the summer
days, the one to be made the most of; the flowery
fields were still dewy, and the air full of floating
gossamer cobwebs : an atmosphere of fairy silver.
We took Jeanne's own direct path, by way of
the old road to Verdun, which gives a lovely view
over dear little Domremy nestling in its valley,
with the copper-tipped hills bathed in the blueish
film of morning mist fast vanishing in the sun-
shine, the sky full of white clouds, a Turner sky
and most Turneresque landscape, with its poplars
and boundless waves of distance. We have often
cried out, ' How like the " Rivers of France " this
place is !'
Even we felt a ' serrement du coeur ' in leaving
this peaceful nook, as if there were a hard world to
be faced outside. Jeanne's heart must have ached,
and needed all its high resolve when she gazed
from these hills for this last time, when she had
left her home never more to see that beloved
We looked back fondly many times while
skirting the potato-fields and colza crops, before
descending into a beautiful woodland, all hill
and dell, with glades embowering blue distances
and mossy paths, and soft, still, dreamy foliage-
screens of silver birch and yellow beech, with
here and there a maple sapling glowing like the
rosy cheek of a country child.
One is not Ions; in discerning}; Jeanne's favour-
ite chapel of Our Lady of Bermont, where she
42 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
went almost every Saturday to pray, and enjoy
herself with her young playmates, wreathin^^ the
altar with flowers which she was skilled in weav-
ing. The young girls laughed at her devotion,
even little Mengette, her own especial friend,
made her blush by calling her ' too pious.'
Happy days these when the young girls could
play in the woods together, drink at St. Thie-
bault's fountain, and together pray and give
thanks for another week of gladsome life ; then
light their tapers in the chapel, emblems of the
faith that lights the world and the love of warm
hearts to God.
The statue of the Virgin in the chapel was the
same that exists there at this day. A crowned
figure less than life-size, carved in oak and paint-
ed, bearing a sceptre in the right hand, and in
the other the infant Jesus, who holds a bird.
There are four statues altogether in the chapel,
surrounding an altar of stone and painted wood.
Many of the objects here are of high antiquity;
the wooden cross on the top of the arch above
the image of St. Thiebaut is supposed to date
from the twelfth century, and the cross at the
gable of the chevet of the chapel is thought to
be of the eleventh century. The Gothic inscrip-
tion round the bell has never been deciphered.
It runs thus, in thirteenth century characters :
"^jjC^ a fa i^ m r i^ i II ir i^ a It r m a n g t
which ingenious readers have tortured into a
motto of praise to Jeanne d'Arc, which would be a
JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEURS. 48
wonderful prophecy, considering it was inscribed
two centuries before she was born.
Philip of Bergamo, who wrote in the reign of
Charles VII., tells us that when Jeanne w^as
about sixteen she took refuge in a chapel from
a storm, and there saw the vision which first
decidedly warned her of her mission, to which
she replied that she was but a poor girl, incapable
of leading an army. This chapel has been thought
to be Bermont. Though it is more likely that
the chapel where Jeanne took shelter was the one
on the hill of the Bois Chesnu, rebuilt by Etienne
Hordal and again destroyed by the Swedes when
they invaded Lorraine, on whose site the new
white temple has been built ; yet it was at Ber-
mont that Jeanne was filled with irresistible
impulse to go forth to save her country and crown
her king, so that she said afterwards, ' Since God
commanded it, if I had had a hundred fathers
and mothers, and been a king's daughter, had I
been forced to wear away my feet to the knees,
I must have gone.' She had no support from
home for her resolution ; public opinion, that of
her little village, was all against the idea of her
Yet at Bermont, with the memory of her child-
hood's happiness rushing over her in one great
wave, when at one moment her whole life was
reflected in it before her as she uttered her last
prayer at the well-known altar, Jeanne must have
needed all the supernatural strength given with
U FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
the command, ' Fille De, va, va, va, I will be
thine aid, go forth,' to carry her steps from her
native village. This parting was twice repeated.
She was very brave and strong in her faith to go
forward again after her first repulse by Baudri-
court at Vaucouleurs. She went on, strong in a
heaven-sent strength, feeling an energy of life
transcending grief and joy.
One need not go to America to see the autumn
woods when such rapturous colour lies between us
and Switzerland. The hill is quite a cathedral of
splendour, fragrant with the incense of ripe
autumn, gorgeous with its lines of scarlet, flame
and purple, and flowered with pink skewerwood,
mingled with rays of light and flashes and splashes
of pure pale yellow flowerlike colour. The year
is renewed into a second youth of colour, an
afterglow more glorious than her early bloom.
We walk ^ through verdurous glooms and
winding mossy ways,' through ivied fore-
grounds, each miniature frond crying, ' Look at
me more closely ;' the emerald banks dappled
with purple-veined ivy and strawberry-plants,
telling of children's spring joys, and yellowing
beech and crimson dogwood. Nature's own land-
scape painting, still moist with morning's mist,
its colour heightened as is wetted jasper ; one
particularly lovely maple-tree with silver stem,
is quite a rose among many other delicate maples.
Each sweet dumb friend is another pang for Jeanne,
whose afl*ections had so twined round these things ;
and beyond this lay the sad thought that she was
JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEURS. 45
bringing sorrow into the lives of others — hardest
of all sacrifices for the loving, nnselfish heart.
Our way still lay through fields where our
' feet were soft in flowers,' then came a rough-
hewn road. A path through somebody's back
o:arden led us throuo:h the villaG^e of Goussain-
court and on to the high-seated village of Burey-
la-C6te at two short leagues from Domremy,
where lived Jeanne's maternal uncle Durand
Laxart, who even last year had cheered her heart
Avith belief in her mission when none else believed,
and he took her to Vaucouleurs to see the
Durand Laxart's house still exists. It looks
very ancient, and has only a ground floor, sparing-
ly ornamented in the pointed style of the fifteenth
century, with an ogival portal and a trefoiled
heading to the small window. Two large round-
ed archways allow the passage of carts to the back
of the house. A little square-towered church,
Avith its low, dark-grey steeple, points this village
of Burey, which is visible on its hill-top for many
Near where the path through the fields abuts
on the high road, we spread our cloaks and re-
clined under a broad-branching plum-tree on a
slope, enjoying the peace and beauty of the scene
until we felt ready to take up our walk again.
We could trace the winding road to Vaucouleurs
for about four miles on, by its double line of trees
as their shadows faded ofi" in the distance curving
down the broad hill slope. The hills and valleys
46 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
are not so smiling as in the little nest of Domremy,
which seems the choicest vale in all this countr}^
The railroad is hidden by a long tunnel, and
several tributaries to the Meuse flow in here. The
plain seen in a peep between the two hills behind
Burey-la-C6te looks like the sea in its far-off blue-
ness. Nearer at hand are flocks of sheep, pigs,
and goats, all herding together like happy families.
To the right in the valley proceeding north-
ward is Maxev-sur-Vaise, where the heroine went
several times to communicate to ' noble homme
Geoffroy du Fay ' her design of fighting the Eng-
lish. We passed through Maxey, a superior sort
of village, with the Vaise flowing through it
neatly embanked with stone. Sauvigny, the next
station, is less important. We rested again near
the sixth kilometre-stone out of Vaucouleurs, on
a bank beneath a wayside chapel near the railway
The bank, sunny when we spread our cloaks
upon it, was repose itself, with its canopy of soft-
clouded sky, its prospect of violet hill-slopes,
sunny meadows set with willows and tall poplars,
and a near foreground of poppies, hare-bells,
shepherd's purse, some pretty umbelliferse and
braided grasses. We lay in clover here, lapped
in a sense of fine existence, and scorning wealth
and capital cities : only feeling, as the train
passed, leaving us behind, like Diogenes when he
told Alexander to stand out of his light. It came
between us and the willows. We wanted nothing
of the train, but that it should not cast its smoke
JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEURS. 47
upon US ; such very dirty smoke it is here in this
eastern part of the network of the Chemin de Fer
de I'Est, almost as bad as it is across the German
frontier, where it seems the thickest and most
poisonous of all coal-smoke. Otherwise the air
here is perfect in its sweetness, coolness, and
peace. Yet in this paradise of peace and ease, we
looked back mentally to our little Domremy, with
its moonlit river, as the sweetest spot of all.
We ate our chocolate, and looked down placid-
ly on the slowly moving world, and into the
wine-carts as they passed full to the brim of
grapes. We had left the department of the Vosges,
and, going northward, were now well within that
of the Meuse. Many people carry guns about here,
and there are plenty of sporting dogs.
A pleasant walk through park-like scenery
brought us into Vaucouleurs by way of the Place
Petry ; at the south-eastern corner of which the
inhabitants of Vaucouleurs still point out the
house of Henri le Royer, the wheelwright, who
was Jeanne d' Arc's host during her stay in the
town. The small house is unassuming, but not
remarkable for any great appearance of antiquity.
Dining at Vaucouleurs that evening in the
neat, unsophisticated Hotel de Jeanne dArc, off
omelette, cabbage, and the wine of the country, a
shaggy, unkempt-looking personage in guise of
an unsuccessful artist introduced himself by help-
ing himself uninvited from our dish : his manner
of solving the difficulties of natural selection
where there is but one dish to choose from. He
48 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
at once proceeded to draw us out. We had seen
him previously in the town Avith something like a
large sketch-book under his arm. His costume
and sans gene manners made us conclude he was a
devotee of the Beautiful ; but, no, he only sought
the True. He was a scientific man, w^hose mission
was to seek truth — truth only ; and by trade — if
I dare so to speak — he was a professional lecturer.
Besides being a philosopher and geographer,
he was here holding a conference on hygiene at
the Hotel de Ville this night at eight. ' The en-
trance is gratuitous, and would you credit it,
mesdames, Vaucouleurs has two thousand six
hundred and ninety-five inhabitants ' (which w^e
afterwards found out to consist chiefly of babies),
' well, I shall feel myself fortunate if I have
twenty listeners. The French are not like the
English ; you English ' (a shaggy, sweeping bow)
' seek knowledge, but here even the vitally im-
portant subject of hygiene is disregarded ; and
yet it concerns us all.' He sighed, as he helped
himself to cabbage. Friday in a small French town
is a circumstance to sigh over.
Doubtless this neglect of the higher culture,
etc., is one reason why Murray in his edition of
1864 does not mention Vaucouleurs at all, and in
the latest edition it is only named.
'Are you of the province of Birmingehamme,
'No, we are from London.'
'Ah!' another shaggy bow recognises the
superior style and breadth of the metropolitan
JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEURS. 49
mind — ' ah ! I have visited the most beautiful
quarters of England. I took a tourist ticket to
London ; my fortune, unhappily, permitted me
not to do more. I am historian also. I was
writing the life of Cromvelle at the time, and I
went to seek informations.'
' Indeed ; and what did you see ?'
' Oh, I visited the finest quarters ; I saw the
Faubourg de Berremingue'amme, and Veet'alle '
(Whitehall), ^and Irving in "Charles I.," because
I was making researches for my book on Crom-
velle. I speak not English, but I read him.'
He finished our omelette. The talk naturally
turned on Jeanne d'Arc. Doubtless we had heard
of her. Yes, we were following her footsteps.
' I am at this moment writing a history of her
life,' he continued. ' I have already covered
eighteen and three-quarter kilogrammes of paper
with materials I have already collected. It is
to be in eleven volumes as high as this bottle,'
— he helped himself. ' You are also making
studies of her, doubtless, madame. Every ele-
vated soul must,' — etc.
'Mine will not be such a monumental work as
yours. We have just walked from her birthplace,
' Fifty kilometres ! You English are wonderful
' No, it is not so much as that ; it is only twenty.'
' Pardon, it is fifty ; I know it for certain.'
The mistress of the hotel smiled. She knew
her man, we did not.
50 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
' And what did they show you ?'
' Oh, everything.'
'But what? Did you see the house she was
born in ?'
' And the place where she tied up her cows ?'
' No, we did not see that.'
' Then they shoAved you simply nothing. Who
did you speak to about her ?'
'The cure talked to us and lent us some books.'
' The cure he knows nothinof. Bah ! those
cures,' — he shook his hair into wisps — 'they admit
no ideas ; they are made up of antiquated pre-
judices. And their books, they are only legends,
stories written for children. We seek truth, we
others,' — drawing himself up and flinging aside
the wisps, — ' I have reached the profoundest
depths of Jeanne's history. I have read through
the Mercury from the fifteenth century, when it
began, and there is only one complete copy now
extant, and that is in Paris. Ah, nobody knows
her veridical history. There are volumes to be
' And yet it is such a little life.'
' A short life. It is true she died at nineteen
years eight months and eight days and a half
How accurate he was ! ' Yet there is a huge
volume to be written of her life after she was
burnt ' — a look of surprise on our part, — ' yes,
after her executioner saw her and asked her
' Before her execution '
JOURNEY TO \AUCOULEURS. 61
' Pardon, madame, he asked it after her exe-
cution. He saw her. Was it a phantom he
saw ? Science forbids. Can two persons exactly
resemble each other ? It is not likely ; so it
must have been an effigy of Jeanne they burnt,
while she escaped through a subterraneous pas-
sage. Yes, I have materials for more than eleven
volumes, from the time when her father beat her
for going to church instead of feeding the cows
until her escape from the flames — et apres — ah,
Ah, he has so much to tell ; he has exhausted
Paris, but in Beloium there are countless un-
edited MSS., and he has not broken Belgian
ground yet ; but, so far as his studies have yet
gone, he is convinced of La Rigaude having been
really Jeanne, and that she lived to a good old
age. About the subterranean passage — c'est posi-
tif — and that exonerates the English. Then it
transpired that we had been to the Avrong Dom-
remy altogether ; that Jeanne was born at a
Domremy at fifty kilometres from here, ' la has
dans les Vosges.'
' But our Domremy was in the Vosges.'
' Ah, it is not the right one, and that is what
the archbishop (?) found against her, that, being
Lorrainaise, she fought against her sovereign, the
King of England.'
I could not reconcile this with my previous
reading, but I did not argue the point. This
monsieur has, according to the habit of his
rationalistic kind, denied all history and tradi-
52 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC,
tion, and is now proceeding to evolve a Joan of
Arc out of his moral consciousness. He has
found that all the Avorld believes in the wrong
Domremy ; he believes in one of the others for
reasons he has not yet edited. Disputing every-
thing hitherto written, he has founded a Chinon
thirty leagues from here ; not quite Chateau
Chinon — Schiller is wTong there : being a Ger-
man, he must be wrong — altogether, he has drawn
everything from sources the most inedited and
profound ; perhaps as profound as his researches
on Cromwell, as indubitable as Irving's acting
edition of Charles I.'s life. In this way there is
no end to the volumes one might write on the
subject of one short life. It was a mercy Ave had
found the real Vaucouleurs. He finished the last
handful of our cakes. Looking at his Avatch,
' Ah, I must hasten myself — I have a confer-
ence at the ToAvn Hall to-night. Did I mention
it? I hope I shall have a greater success here
than I had at , when I conducted Madame la
Generale —to my lecture, and I awaited a tremen-
' Oh, I feel sure a lecture on so important a
subject Avill be Avell attended,' said I, soothingly.
' I hope I may have the pleasure of your assist-
ance at my conference.'
I expected this. We had just Avalked about
thirteen miles, besides making some researches in
the toAvn ; still a lecture on hygiene might do us
good. He will accompany us — it is not far — and
give us reserved seats, and by frequent reference
JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEUnS. 63
to his watch we are given to understand there is
no time to be lost. He loves the English. Was
that young lady who had just gone to bring down
my bonnet my daughter ? Ah ! une charmante
demoiselle ! Was madame a widow ? He has the
highest consideration for the English, and they
return it fully.
' Indeed !'
Ah, yes. He met a lord of the Admiralty at
Plombieres w^ho had £80,000 a year, who must
have had £80,000 sterling a year, because he not
only gave largely at one of his lectures, but he
always drives four horses. Each horse costs
twenty francs a day, so that the lord in question
cannot on that basis of calculation have less than
£80,000 a year, c'est positif.
' What is his name ?'
He knows the name begins with a B and ends
with an m ; but, although he has his card among
the three kilogrammes of visiting-cards that he
has in his portmanteau, and all given to him in
this tournee, he cannot recall the name for the
moment, though he was so intimate. Thirteen
hundred and four cards weigh a kilogramme, so
he says. He is careful about accuracy in detail
— the scientific mind is always so.
If he asks for my card to add to his collection,
I must call myself Mrs. Smith of Great Britain,
address, No. 6, Clapham Junction.
He was careful not to lose sight of his audi-
ence. We declined seats on the platform at the
lecture, but he announced us about as distin-
bi FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
guished foreigners, so that we were glad to get
away as soon as the conference was over. Vau-
couleurs does not seem to be of a scientific turn
of mind, nor to care about hygiene ; but the two
first rows of seats gradually filled, and small boys
crowded in at the back later on. State-paid lec-
tures on hygiene are naturally less lively than
those where the lecturers try to clear a profit, but
his diagrams were very neat and good, and the
audience woke up a little when the lecturer pro-
duced a large ecorche picture, with opening leaves,
displaying the organs of the body not usually
exhibited. Like all men, he was most eloquent
on the tight-lacing question, and weakest on the
subject of tobacco. His lecture was dull, but
We took care to be invisible next morning, and
each time we caught sight of our philosopher
lurking in corners in wait for us, we slipped out
of a side-door and fled. He would be sure to
mislead us in our search for traces of Jeanne
All this reads ludicrously, but philosophers
of this sort are connnon enough. These artists
think they can improve upon Nature, flatter the
features of a character, arrange history better,
and cover their want of anatomy by ' treatment.'
This sketch is literal fact, shortened considerably,
for our historian was very glib ; and to what does
it bring us ? To more light ? — oh, no ; to an
endless complexity of cobwebs. Is unbelief more
profitable than faith ? To me nothing is more
JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEURS. 65
marked than the utter barrenness of unbelief,
which yet always accompanies the grossest credu-
lity. They are not the most religious people who
are gulled by tricks of spirit-rapping. Is mate-
rialism, realism, or what they like to call it, the
safe guide to history? or does it make of it an
inverted legend shorn of its beams and beauties,
yet no nearer to the truth ?
All the tinsel with which poetry has overlaid
the story of Jeanne d'Arc reeks Avitli verdigris
when we approach the pure gold of truth, which
is so clearly evidenced in buildings, distances,
and geographical features, as well as in contem-
porary writings and law reports. Historical re-
search is a veritable gold-washing of tradition.
Unbelief at Vaucouleurs is not confined to
modern times. The Sire de Baudri court, com-
mandant of the castle, also could not believe in
any wonder that lay outside his narrow compre-
hension. Some minds can only believe in their
own experience. This is eminently provincial,
yet not pastoral.
We need not attend to the legend of Jeanne's
having recognised the commandant without hav-
ing seen him before. This is said of her approach
to every great man, and as all writers, including
Shakespeare, affirm it, we may conclude that
some one person, most probably Charles VII.,
attempted to deceive her by some juggling trick.
The truth and Jeanne's own good sense rejected
all such extraneous miracle. Her power lay in
her own conviction, and the natural ascendancy
56 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'AB.C.
of a strong character over those more feeble and
vacillating ; and also the extraordinary fascination
she exercised over all men and women with
whom she came in contact. Superstition was a
universal malady in those days, as unbelief is now.
Baudricourt did not believe in Jeanne's mission ;
yet he was superstitious enough to have the young
girl exorcised. It was not the first time he had
seen Jeanne d'Arc. She had come at Ascension-
tide in the previous year, in her coarse, red,
peasant's dress, and he had sent her away in deri-
sion. But when she re-appeared before him, still
in her peasant's garb, but with deeper conviction
in her manner, and urged her mission to raise the
siege of Orleans, and cause the dauphin to be
crowned at Rheims : and when others round him
began to talk of her, and to believe in her, this
time he was not able to send her away unnoticed.
There was something in all this, but whether of
good or evil, who should say ? If she had visions,
whence came they ? To clear up this point,
Baudricourt came one day with the cure to the
house of the wheelwright, where Jeanne was stay-
ing, and where she remained three weeks, helping
his wife, spinning with her; dividing her time
between household occupations and prayer in the
church, or in the crypt, where she often prayed
in the chapel of the Virgin. The cure, wearing
his stole, prepared himself to exorcise the maiden,
commanding her, if she were under the influence
of an evil spell, to retire; if not, she was to ap-
proach. Jeanne approached the priest and knelt
JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEURS. 67
before him, and afterwards she told the command-
ant, who Avas still unsatisfied, of the popular pro-
phecy that ' France should be lost by a woman
and saved by a young girl.' This young girl was
expected to spring from the marches of Lorraine.
The woman was interpreted to be the wicked
Isabeau de Baviere, the queen-dowager.
Time passed, the king's need was extreme, the
people round Vaucouleurs Avere eager that Jeanne
should go forward to save France according to her
promise. Two gentlemen who offered to conduct her
to the dauphin, also undertook to defray the ex-
penses of the journey. One of them was Jean de
Novelonpont, or Nouillonpont (on the frontier
names are curiously confused in their spelling),
surnamed Jean de Metz, a man of mature years,
who held a royal office at Vaucouleurs. (Martin
wrongly calls him ' un jeune bourgeois.') The
other was a young esquire, Bertrand de Poulengy.
The people of Vaucouleurs equipped her with
what she required, the military dress of the
period, and they aided her uncle to buy her a
horse. An old tapestry wrought in her time, and
now in the museum at Orleans, represents Jeanne
riding to Chinon on a sorrel-coloured horse, and
wearing a red hood with an aigrette. Only Mon-
strelet says she was used to horse-riding. A mar-
ginal note to his work made by a commentator in
Charles VII.'s or Louis XL's time, rectifies the asser-
tion saying, ' ne James n'avoit veu cheval, au moyns
pour monter dessus.' This would be the case with
the peasant girls of Domremy now, they lead the
58 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
cattle to the fields, but they have nothing to do
with the horses, which are only used for draught.
The habits of peasant life, being founded on neces-
sities, do not change readily. Jeanne herself said
she had never ridden on horseback. She had
hitherto made her journeys on foot.
Jeanne knew nothing of feminine disabilities; she
had to go, and she went. Schiller makes his Jeanne,
a thoroughly German Johanna, give vent to a fine
soliloquy on quitting her peasant condition and
beginning a public career. The reality is that
she felt all that Schiller describes, but said nothing
about it (she was not given to much talking), but
she went forth bravely with self-renunciation to
do what the Lord commanded her in the way
prescribed. The Voices told her to go to Baudri-
court at Vaucouleurs ; therefore she did not set
out instead to walk to Chinon, begging her bread
and falling into ill-repute by the way.
The church of Vaucouleurs is modern renais-
sance, Avith ceilings and spandrils painted in the
Italian style. One walks up the flight of steps
outside to the left of it to see what was once the
crypt of the chapel where Jeanne d'Arc prayed.
Very little remains of this ; but two trefoiled
windows and a small door explain its situation.
The crypt is no longer a crypt, but the most ex-
posed object on the hill-side. Its position shows
that the chapel of the castle most probably stood
above it; at the back of it, among reddening
sumach and tangled vegetation, are vestiges of
what was once finely-cut gothic sculpture. Several
JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEURS. 69
paths and flights of steps wind about among the
ruins of the castle, held for the king by the Sire
de Baudricourt, who continued unshakingiy faithful
to his king. As punishment for this fidelity, the D uke
of Bedford sequestrated his lands at Chaumont.
Vaucouleurs had become quite a Castle Dangerous.
Of this once important frontier fortress little but
the fine site remains, and only traces of walls. It
was well situated for a citadel, commanding,
though at no great height, a view of the valley of
the Meuse, and a wide reach of neighbouring
country. It was one of the few towms north of
the Loire that held out for Charles the dauphin.
The castle and town of Vaucouleurs had to sustain
the first shock of the Anglo-Burgundian bands.
Down in the town, not far from the railway
station, there are several round towers of smoothly
cut stone, forming part of the former town wall,
which is now used as the back of a street of small
houses. The town is well-situated on the Meuse,
in the midst of a fertile flowery valley ; hence its
name, vallee des couleurs, vallis colorum.
TOUL AND NANCY.
'• Et que vous a dit la voix ?'
' Elle m'a dit de repondre hardiment, et que Dieu m'aiderait.'
(' And what did the voice tell you ?'
' It told me to answer boldly, and that God would help me.')
Jeanne d' Arc's Interrogatory at Ruuen.
The fame of Jeanne's visions spread and reached
the ears of the Duke of Lorraine, lying sick in
his palace at Nancy. She most come to visit
him and work his cure. There was time to spare,
since, notwithstanding the pressing need of France
and Jeanne's desire to set out on her great mis-
sion, Robert de Baudricourt could not make up
his mind to send her to the dauphin, and a man
who is afraid of facing a responsibility has always
time to deliberate. This was a preparation to
Jeanne for the harder trials of patience she would
meet by-and-by, when she found greater people
deliberate when they should be acting.
' What are you doing here, ma mie ?' said Jean
de Novelonpont, going to see her at the wheel-
wright's. ' Must the king be driven from the
kingdom — must we all become English?'
TOUL AND NANCY. 61
Among the consequences of the treaty of Troyes
was the occupation of Champagne by the in-
vaders. The castle and town of Vaucouleurs was
in fact the last shred of French territory that
Charles had been able to retain in the eastern
extremity of his kingdom. This is the point of
the question put by Jean de Novelonpont, ' Why
are you delaying, ma mie — are we all to become
' I am come here, to the king's house ' — Vau-
couleurs was a royal town — ' to speak to Robert
de Baudricourt to take me or send me to the
king. But he cares not for me nor for my Avords.
And yet, before mid-Lent, I must be before the
king, even should I wear my feet to the knees ;
for no one in the world, neither kings, dukes, nor
the King of Scotland's daughter, none other can
recover the kingdom of France. He has no help
but in me ; and truly I had much rather spin by
my poor mother's side, for this is not my condi-
tion of life. But I must go and I must act,
because mv Lord wills it.'
' Who is your Lord ?'
' He is God.'
The brave soldier, taking her hands between
his own, swore by his faith that, God helping, he
would conduct her to the king, and asked her
when she would set out.
' To-day rather than to-morrow — to-morrow
rather than later,' she replied.
This call of the Duke of Lorraine seemed to open
another door of hope to Jeanne. He might do for
62 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
her what Baudricourt refused or delayed, or he
might send his son-in-law, Rene of Anjou, who
was well affected to the cause, to accompany her
into France. She would neglect nothing that
might compass her object. She furnished herself
with a safe conduct and went to Nancy. Jean de
Metz (Novelonpont) accompanied her and her
uncle to Toul, and she continued her journey to
the duke with her uncle, Durand Laxart.
This was not the first time Jeanne had been
at Toul. She had gone there the year before to
deny before the diocesan officials a pretended
promise of marriage with a man whom her
parents encouraged, thus hoping to keep her
at home and put all ideas of war and visions
out of her head. It is taken for granted by
Monsieur Simeon Luce that this young man
became acquainted with Jeanne during her
short sojourn at Neufchateau. She appeared
personally before the judge and made him be-
lieve her word. Vaucouleurs and the villages
in its vicinity, although French, it appears were
subject to the spiritual jurisdiction of the Bishop
of Toul, which was a free city of the German
empire, added to France in 1552.
This was Jeanne's first experience of ecclesi-
Jeanne, in her first journey to Toul, did not
pass through Vaucouleurs, but followed the ridge
of the Roman road that runs from Toul to Langres.
Part of this road still remains, and is visible near
TOUL AND NANCY. 68
From Vaucouleurs there are two roads to Toul :
one is the present route nationale by Blenod-les-
Toul, the other lies through the Bois du Chanois
and the Bois du Domgermain. The forest road
is that probably followed by Jeanne, as it is
shorter. The railway to Toul passes by the junc-
tion at Pagny, where it crosses the Meuse and
enters the valley of the Moselle, which has here
the appearance of a canal. The towers of Toul
look fine from a distance, but the town seems
sad in being too near a foreign frontier. They
are strengthening the already strong fortifica-
tions. The dirty town is tightly packed within
its walls, giving it a decidedly raediasval aspect.
The streets are tortuous and intricate ; one is
glad to find rest for the eye in the graceful,
flamboyant cloister of St. Gengoult, resembling
the cloisters of Westminster Abbey, enclosing a
garden of bays, pomegranates, and oleanders.
There is some fine old glass in the church. It
is impossible to get a good view of this double-
towered church, the town is so crowded round
it. The only open space in the city is in front
of the cathedral, which is also twin- towered, and a
This was the first cathedral Jeanne ever saw,
an inferior Rheims, as moonlight unto sunlight ;
but still there is enough resemblance to have
struck her forcibly on entering Rheims. After
Domremy, breathing the spirit of peace and pas-
toral simplicity, it strikes a grisly contrast to
enter this Bellona-like place, all bristling with
64 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
war and eager for revenge. Beyond the cathe-
dral lie the barracks and the especially military
quarter. Drawbridges lead through the fortifica-
tions to the bridges over the canal, which here is
islanded and broad.
The walk from Toul to Nancy is twenty-four
kilometres, about fifteen miles, and when one
once commits oneself to the road one must walk
all the way, as no horse or carriage can now be
obtained between the two towns, and there is no
direct railway. Jeanne went there on foot with
her uncle, as Jean de Metz had left them at Toul.
The road was not so good then as it is now, as
one can judge by portions of the old road visible
as one gets into the hilly country about Nancy.
The way lies across the Moselle bridge. The
view of the double-towered cathedral, with the
traceried crowns, embosomed in trees and doubly
reflected in the canal and the Moselle, is delight-
ful when the mist lifts itself above a rounded but
lofty hill, a spur of the Vosges. The road is
charming as it drops into the suburb of Daumar-
tin-les-Toul, with its Italian bell- tower and church,
the cathedral remaining long in sight after the
bastions have sunk in distance, as one ascends
the hill to Gondreville. The way becomes even
prettier on gaining the high champaign-land,
w^here the high-road lies for many kilometres
through a wood, the Bois de Hayes, which is
cleared for about a hundred yards on either side
of the road.
Hunting often goes on in this wood, and a sort
TOUL AND NANCY. 65
of battue-shooting. It is enchanting to hear the
huntsmen winding their horns so prettily and
frequently, or sometimes musically whistling the
tune, while others within the wood are shouting
and the dogs baying. Wolves are numerous in
the recesses of the wood, but one seldom sees
larger game than a hare scampering across the
road. The hunters on battue days stand behind
the trees with their guns cocked, ready to fire at
anything that the dogs may turn out of the wood.
This seems as patient work as fishing.
The road, in October, is a path of gold, lying be-
neath a vegetable cloister of alternate sycamore
and poplar, the sycamores making the road dense
with their falling leaves, mostly yellow, but often
scarlet, green, and gold, like zonal geraniums.
These trees, shorter than the poplars, fill the inter-
vening spaces with their dropping amber, beautiful
to walk under as a laburnum grove. One cannot
tire of such a road in the brisk autumn weather,
though it is a sparsely inhabited region. It was
less beautiful when Jeanne d'Arc passed here in
the middle of February, 1429.
Between Toul and Nancy there are only two
tiny villages besides Gondreville, which is
somewhat more important, and a half-way post-
ing-house with empty stables. But the ground
lies very high, and one can hear the distant
chime of many village church bells on a Sunday,
harmonizing with the hunters' chorus within the
wood, for on a Sunday especially the air is musi-
cal with these latter sounds.
66 . FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
At the Poste Velaine, just halt- way betwixt
Toul and Nancy, the character of the road
chancres, and the landscape becomes more broken
and picturesque in the peeps seen among the
gathering mists. At present the road is carried
across the valleys by two tine lofty viaducts lined
Avith ash-trees : the old road lies green below, and
even this has a low viaduct, which was probably
not there when Jeanne and her uncle journeyed
The sick Duke of Lorraine had tried all human
(and other) means to be healed, but that of lead-
ing a good life. Jeanne pointed out to him the
only permanent cure. She told him he ruled
himself ill, and would only amend by his own
efforts, and counselled him to take back his good
The common sense of a clear and pious mind
was enough to show her this. She pretended to
work no miraculous cures ; she declared she knew
nothing concerning his malady ; but she unfolded
to him her patriotic object, hoping the duke might
be moved to aid her. If he would let his son-in-
law command some men-at-arms to convoy her
through France, she would heartily pray God to
grant him health. Jeanne herself, while fully
persuaded of her Divine mission, always used the
plain good sense God had given her to help her
forward in the way pointed out to her.
Michelet says, and truly, ' The originality of the
Pucelle which ensured her success did not so
much consist in her valour or her visions, as in
TOUL AND NANCY. 67
her good sense.' Through all her enthusiasm
the girl saw the question and how it was to be
The duke had no mind to forward her ends ;
there were political difficulties in the way of this,
but towards herself he showed respect and con-
sideration. He bade her a gracious farewell, and
supplied her with a small sum of money and a
horse. Charles of Lorraine is said to have given
her 'four franks at parting,' which she sent to
her parents by her uncle. All this showed she
had demeaned herself in a modest and decorous
manner towards him, and that her unwelcome
advice had not been couched in offensive language.
So ended a trial of faith for Jeanne ; but she
was not cast down. Had He not promised to be
with her ? — He whose archangel said, ' Fille De,
va, va, va. Je serai a ton aide.'
The gay, bright town of Nancy has always
been pretty, though it has no great architec-
tural interest ; a curio as thing, as thfe town
would seem to have always gone with the fashion.
But it looks too new, and the old things have
too much of the Renaissance character to have
been seen by our Jeanne.
Murray calls the church of St. Epvre ' old, but
much altered.' It looks modern in every stone.
It is like a conservatory for light, being all over-
coloured modern windows; really too gay not to be
startling, but with every detail perfectly, exquisite-
ly, and expensively carried out. The large aisle
and clerestory windows are all of them sheets of
68 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
dazzling colour. There is scarcely any wall left,
all is rainbow glass. This has a most curious effect.
Grey-tinted angels fill the spandrils, and the neces-
sarily few wall decorations are everywhere equally
well-executed, strictly in the selected period of
pure decorated Gothic ; but all breathes the very
spirit of Nancy, gay, modern, bright, and pretty.
^ La plus jolie ville de France ' looks like a pretty
young married lady decked in her new trousseau.
But the palace of the Dukes of Lorraine, a
two-floored building with high-peaked roofs and
dormers and tourelles, still remains, though not
unaltered. The present building is for the most
part flamboyant Gothic of the sixteenth century.
The portal and gate-house are delightful. There
are also several remains of the ancient walls and
city gates. One of these, with a portcullis and
a triple gateway is highly picturesque. These
old walls are being levelled, which seems a pity ;
yet Nancy, the gracious lady in robes of peace,
is happier-looking than Toul, the armed soldier.
Its gilt gates and filagree fences are better suited
to its gay disposition than old walls and bastions.
Nancy is frivolous and careless as ever. (They
even sing out of tune in the churches.) There is
nothing to compel one to anything but pleasure,
one lives in a sweet dream of confectioners' shops,
and Nancy's principal manufacture of pretty em-
broidery. The inns all look like limited liability
companies' asylums; and oh, the pompousness
and imprisonment of it all after little free-hearted
TOUL AND NANCY. 69
Nancy cherishes no storied past ; even the
student subsides into a relish of the shops, the
fashions, and the relief of there being nothing
worth drawing or writing about, no goading
conscience to egg him on to spoil a holiday ; no-
thing ' early pointed,' or, if Gothic, of a viciously
debased period, quite beneath an enlightened
modern to care about ; no objects of interest, no
works of art.
Isabey, the painter, indeed presented a collection
of his paintings to the town, and the town knows
nothing of their whereabouts. Even a diligent
quest may fail to discover their locality. The
old concierge at the palace of the Dukes of Lor-
raine looks quite thankful that he has not got
them to take care of and exhibit. The academy
(or college), the Hotel de Ville, and the Musee
Lorrain resolutely repudiate the soft impeach-
ment. We should disbelieve the guide-books
which affirm their existence had we not once
had a similar experience at Douai, where a search
for Memling's paintings was equally bewildering
to all the municipal authorities ; where no one
understood such an inquiry at all. No one had
ever heard of Hemling — Memling ? — no, nor
any such name. They only knew the modern
pictures in the churches, which cost, oh ! ever
so many francs. Where after a game of hide-
and-seek, being passed on through every public
building, from the museum to St. Pierre, and
thence to Notre Dame, Hans Hemling's magni-
ficent altarpiece was at length discovered in
70 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
a dusty^ uncared-for condition in the sacristy.
'- Ma foi, c'est bien joli,' said a young work-
man, coming forward likewise to view a novelty.
This seemed to us uneducated praise or faint
Foiled in her hope of help from the great
nobles, Jeanne d'Arc turned to God alone for
encouragement. St. Nicholas-du-Port, a famous
shrine in those days, where Jeanne took the
opportunity, before leaving Nancy, to make a
pilgrimage, is only two leagues out of the town.
It is the first station on the line to Forbach and
the Rhine. Alas, directly the frontier is crossed,
the mutual hatred of two great nations, both of
them leaders of a high civilization, is manifest
in every petty detail. There is small thought of
saints and saintly ways here, no care for pilgrim-
ages, nor even forms of politeness.
The air is defiled with the dirtiest smoke of the
dirtiest coal to be found anywhere ; and hearts are
blackened with international animosity. The very
music is a war-cry. The ' Marseillaise ' is hissed
between the gnashing teeth on the crowded rail-
way platforms. Patriotism is a defiance. ' Vive
la France ' is uttered bitterly and with flashing
eyes, and answered with contempt. Both nations
are seen at their worst and meanest. The good-
hearted men of the Fatherland are petty tyrants
here, full of rough insolence, insensible to the
cruelty of trampling on a fallen foe. ' Pesche,'
say they rudely as they hurry the swarming pas-
sengers into the crowded carriages of the market
TOUL AND NANCY. 71
trains. ' Pesche/ their rough and ready way of
saying ' depechez-vous/ to a people accustomed to
the ceremonious politeness of ' Montez en voiture,
s'il vous plait, messieurs et 'dames.'
The contrast of their manner is great when
compared with their kindliness and attention to
ourselves directly we are discovered to be English.
The days of chivalry are over, and war no
longer carries the palliatives which made a condi-
tion of warfare endurable in former days. Let us
hope that before long civilization may be able to
perfect itself into peace.
THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE.
* Allez done, allez, et advienne que pourra!' (' Go, tlien, go, and
let come of it what may !')
Robert de Baudricourt to Jeanne d'Arc.
From St. Nicholas-du-Port Jeanne returned to
Vaucouleurs again to wait upon the good pleasure
of her superiors. Faith must always be wrapped
in patience. She was ready to work. News had
come of the defeat of Rouvray (? so it is asserted).
It must have travelled quickly, as Lent had begun,
Ash-Wednesday was the 9th February, and the
' Battle of Herrings ' was fought early in Lent.
Again Jeanne pressed the commandant to send
her to the dauphin's aid.
The well-known secret of eloquence is to be in
earnest. Enthusiasm warms even unbelief with
its own fire. Jeanne was certain of her mission,
and so could impart its faith to those who could
not read her credentials ; who had never felt the
glow of inspiration. Baudricourt, convinced or
weary, troubled by her importunity, at length
gave his consent to her departure on the 13th of
THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 73
February, the first Sunday in Lent. This requires
explanation. Tradition says she warned him of a
pressing danger to France on the very day of
Rouvray ; this is difficult to reconcile with his
disbelief in her word. Ill news travels fast, but
tidings of the defeat of Rouvray could scarcely
have reached Vaucouleurs by the 13th of February.
These more probably came in the further interval of
preparation for Jeanne's departure, and the date may
have coincided with her most pressing entreaty.
It is most likely a message from Chinon gave
sanction to Jeanne's journey. Now she was really
able to prepare to go : to set forth as succour to
the dauphin : a forlorn hope, looked upon by the
great as was the ark that Noah built to save the
remnant of a lost and wilful world. This little
seed of a great army comprised Jeanne and her
two friends, Jean de Metz, knight, and Bertrand
de Poulengy, squire, with their two servants, and
Colet de Vienne, the king's messenger, and
Richard the Archer. But it was not an army that
she sought at Vaucouleurs, it was leave to act, to
carry out what seemed a wild scheme. The late
Lord Lytton said ' nothing ever so inspires human
daring as the fond belief that it is the agent of a
Divine Wisdom.' One finds in ' fanaticism the
spot out of the world by which to move the world.
The prudent man may direct a state ; but it is the
enthusiast who regenerates — or ruins it.'
On Wednesday, the 23rd of February, Jeanne
set out for Chinon, a ride of one hundred and fifty
leagues, with five great rivers to cross, through the
74 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
heart of France, a country for the most part in
the hands of the enemy, to meet the true heir to
the throne, and cheer him by God's promises. The
little troop travelled by the shortest way, as the
crow flies, as nearly as the nature of the ground
permitted. There was need of haste, for the cause
was at its last gasp. On the morrow of her de-
parture from Vaucouleurs, leaving Domremy on
the left, she halted at the Abbey of St. Urbain
(Haute Marne), which is at twenty-eight miles
distance, in the straight line, which cannot there-
fore be reckoned practically as less than a thirty
miles' ride. They ran the risk of many dangers.
The men-at-arms of the marches of the Loire were
reputed, with the Bretons, the greatest robbers
the world produced. Their habits of brigandage,
and of burning and pillaging the country became
proverbial. There were four adventurers, the
brothers Du Fay, who never ceased to ravage this
part of the country. Perpetual skirmishes were
likewise going on between the two great parties,
Armagnac and Burgundian. Received at St. Ur-
bain for the night with her little escort, she had
the encouragement of hearing mass before re-
commencing her long and perilous ride. Portions
of this abbey are still standing, and the village
which grew up under the shadow of its walls is
only a few kilometres from the stations of Donjeux
Passing between Sionne and Midrevaux, they
took the road to Grand, abutting on the left bank of
the Saunelle. At Grand are the remains of a Gallo-
THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 75
Roman town and vast amphitheatre, whose elliptic
curve is traceable among heaps of grass-grown
ruin. One portico remains standing. Grand was
the scene of martyrdom of many noble victims
under Julian the Apostate. The place was doubt-
less familiar to Jeanne d'Arc, who must at least
have knoAvn the sepulchre of St. Libaire, the virgin
But thoughts of martyrdom were far removed
from the heroic maiden, full of strength, with
happiness rising in her like the spring sap rising
in the woods around; achievement before her,
after so long waiting ; in all the joy of action ;
in the saddle with victory calling her on. It was
a fine moment of expansion, of hope enjoyed,
worth a lifetime of fulj&lment. The sw^eet vivid
dreams of youth were shared at any rate by the
younger of her companions. It needed this
sympathy to complete the enjoyment, for ' what
but youth can echo back the soul of youth — all
the music of its wild vanities and romantic follies.'
But no love-dreams mingled with Jeanne's glad-
ness. Nowhere do we read that Bertrand de
Poulengy was more to her than the staid old
knight, Jean de Metz, who risked his lands and
office for his trust in this chance of France's de-
liverance. Jeanne's life is not one of a succes-
sion of novels, as our English history has been
called. It has no love romance — it is a tragic
Throughout the whole campaign, notwithstand-
ing her male attire and her military bearing, no
76 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
one thought of Jeanne as other than a military"
leader, a public character of ideal interest. Her
own conduct was so good and pure, while thrown
entirely among men, that the halo of holiness,
rather than romance, around her was held sacred
by the chivalry of that time. Her foes maligned
her, but it was left to the age when chivalry was
extinct absolutely to insult her, notwithstanding
the pretended modesty of her enemies concerning
her apparel. As for the English, it was the sup-
posed witch they shuddered at ; as a woman, they
even admired her. It shows the extent to which
womanly influence may be carried that she puri-
fied the whole French camp.
Miss Parr says Bertrand de Poulengy was six
years older than Jean de Metz ; but no contem-
porary author is an authority for this. Petitot
says De Poulengy was the younger of her two
guides, and this is the general idea. Poulengy
defrayed the expenses of the route. Lebrun de
Charmettes says her brother, Pierre d'Arc, went
with her from Vaucouleurs to Chinon, though he
admits no deposition says so ; indeed, all evidence
from after-date writings is against it. De Metz
and Poulengy avow that at first they felt much
doubt and fear. Some of the party, when daunted
by the perils of the journey, wished to put her
in prison (dans quelque geole). Lenglet du
Fresnoy's translator makes it, ' throw her down
a quarry,' connecting, 1 presume, the ideas of
geole and geologic. Being an error, of course
THROUGH THE HEART 01^ FRANCE. 77
other writers fall into it. One legendary historian
makes quite a melodramatic passage concerning
the wild quarries where it was proposed to throw
Jeanne over the cliiF and return from the foolish
and hazardous expedition.
The land was bubbling with the February water-
springs, and bursting with the first promise of buds,
as the little cavalcade rode through these woods
and broken ground, on the 24th of February ;
crossing the Marne above Joinville, set pictur-
esquely in its rocky hills and vinej^ards ; a beautiful
country, where Jeanne could not yet feel entirely
among strangers. These hills were also well-
known to her, at least in outline, for she was
still not far from home. The breeze rustling
among the crisp unshed brown leaves of the
beech-trees in these high-seated forests ; the rush-
ing rivers among the lofty rocks, and the lowing
of the cattle were all sounds familiar to her from
infancy. Only the yellow Marne had replaced
the clear green Meuse in this the next-door
valley. The Ornain and the Saulx played and
sparkled like her own brooks at Domremy. They
slept on the ground in their armour by their
From St. Urbain to Bar-sur-Aube is twenty -
eight miles (in a direct line). They did not enter
the town, but forded the river at a short distance
above the walls. Most likely they halted for the
night of February the 24th at some sheltered
nook in the recesses of Mont St. Germaine, before
78 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
arriving near the town which is situated on the
right bank of the river. They would not care
to ford the stream in the evening, for in February
it is still early dusk, and fords are liable to
become treacherous with the thaw. They may
have supped on some of the good Aube trout,
or have sent one of their number into the town
to procure supplies. They were seven hungry
persons to be catered for.
Bar-sur-Aube is now a town of 4,780 inhabitants.
A chapel on its stone bridge marks the place where
Charles VII. (Jeanne's dauphin) caused the revolted
Bastard of Bourbon to be broken on the wheel and
his body sewn in a sack and cast into the river.
This was ten years after Jeanne d'Arc's death.
Though not easily roused to the more generous
passions, Charles was fully capable of revenge.
The church of St. Pierre at Bar is very ancient,
and deep sunken in the earth.
Friday's ride of about twenty -five miles to Bar-
sur-Seine was over easier ground, and by using
caution, they could follow the direct road. They
were in an enemy's country, and of course wished
to evade observation, being too few to defend
themselves against numbers; still they were
enough to overpower any small marauding party,
being, in the strength of their resolution, equal
to any ten men who might seek to hinder their
passage. The country hereabouts loses its moun-
tainous character, but its outlines are pleasing
and picturesque. The Seine is here quite a
young river, and the ford presents no great
THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 79
difficulty. Bar is now merely a quiet country
town with a pretty church.
The necessity of providing supplies must have
been embarrassing, as their little force would
scarcely dare approach the bourgades or fortified
villages ; and in those unsettled times there were
few outlying farms or detached dwellings which
might have furnished them with what they need-
ed for money or for love. Of course the castles
and monasteries were the usual resource for
travellers in those days, but they dared not ven-
ture near the castles, nor do they seem to have
approached any monastery after leaving St. Ur-
bain. The grass just springing made it compara-
tively easy to provide for their horses. On
Saturday, the 26th of February, they took the
Tonnerre road ; presumably so, for no details are
given of this part of their course. The high road
from Bar-sur-Seine is by Les Riceys, but the road
by Chaource and Coussegrey is the most direct,
and Berriat Saint Prix thinks they followed this
path. They would have passed near Tonnerre,
but we cannot suppose in any case that they
mounted the hill on which Tonnerre stands,
crowned with the church of St. Pierre on its lofty
platform of rock. The pleasant lime-tree avenues of
Tonnerre would hardly then have rejoiced the
travellers with their shade, even had this journey
been in summer, though the lime lives to an
immense age. They may have refreshed them-
selves at the old Roman spring, Pons Dionysi,
as it is supposed to be from its modern name of
80 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
La Fontaine Fosse Dionne. Jeanne rarely touch-
ed wine ; her habitual drink was water. They
crossed the Seraing near Chablis, about twelve
miles from Auxerre. By rising early on the
morning of Sunday, the 27th, they would have
reached Auxerre in time to hear the bells chimin 2:
for high mass. For the first time Jeanne refused
to be led by her guides, but insisted on a halt
that she might attend service in the cathedral.
' If we could hear mass,' she said, ^ we should do
She told them to have no fear, her heavenly
guides would let them come to no harm. They
had to cross the Yonne, and it seemed more
reasonable to divide themselves and enter the
town, which is on the left bank, by the bridge,
than to risk fording the river swollen by the
first spring floods. The attendants could buy pro-
visions while the Maid was at mass, and they
might set ofl* again while they still had day-
light before them for a long journey. Their
horses, after two or three hours' rest and a good
feed, would be fresh for another start. On ex-
amining coolly the Maid's suggestions, we always
find a wonderful vein of practical intention in
them ; no romantic folly ever mars the details of
her great plan. Here spiritually protected and
unrecognised, though the fame of her mission was
already pretty well dispersed throughout the
country, which made her travelling all the more
dangerous, Jeanne worshipped in the great ca-
thedral. In all other respects in this long jour-
THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 81
ney she let herself be led by her guides. God pre-
served her alike from treachery and from the enemy.
The grand bulk of the lofty cathedral rising
above the houses and buildings of the town, a
large city, now of over twelve thousand inhabi-
tants, and overtopping the other large churches,
presented an irresistible attraction to Jeanne
d'Arc. Great must have been the fearful pleasure
of joining in the service. Internally this church,
built in 1213, rivals even Coutances. It is built
over a yet earlier church, date 1005, whose crypt
lies beneath the choir. Jeanne must have seen,
too, the curious painting at the end of the crypt
of the White Horse of the Apocalypse, with its
rider ; its date is near the end of the twelfth cen-
tury. The external traceries of this splendid cathe-
dral are of the finest, boldest style, in high relief,
and in some parts quite detached from the wall.
The richly coloured glass must have been a
marvel of magnificence to our shepherdess, and
the splendid doors and rose windows, which are
especially fine at Auxerre, must, in their gorge-
ous beauty, have given rise to emotions such as we
can scarcely conceive. Perhaps an imaginative
child's first sight of a transformation scene at
a theatre is the nearest parallel we have to this
luxury of esthetic emotion in one so unsophisticated
and susceptible as Jeanne. The Lady Chapel of this
church is remarkably elegant. The ancient walls
of Auxerre are now levelled and made into boule-
vards, and the moat planted in gardens shaded by
acacias and vines. The ivied towers remain to
82 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
form delightful foreground features of a highly
Jeanne incurred greater risk in entering Aux-
erre than perhaps she understood. The town
had suiFered too severely from the English in
1359 and afterwards, to allow them to afford
shelter to professed enemies of that power.
Even in the successful progress of the king to-
wards Rheims, four months later, it was with the
utmost difficulty that Charles could obtain the
least concession from the timid inhabitants of
Refreshed in every way, that afternoon saw the
little party well on their way towards the Loire ;
but whether by the Bleneau or the Toucy road
cannot be ascertained, as, sleeping in the fields, it
is not said near what villages they stopped, and
towns are scarce hereabout. The high road lies
near Toucy, Fargeau, St. Sauveur, and St. Amand.
Going by Courson and the pools of Entrains, one
turns to the right at Bleneau on the Loing, and
strikes across westward to Gien, by way of woods
and pools. It is difficult even at this day to say
which road has the greatest advantages ; then
probably it was only between disadvantages one
could choose, as at that time there was no high
road between Auxerre and Gien. The ancient
churches show that small towns or villages existed
then, and paths of communication must have lain
between them, if only for markets and pur-
poses of barter. From Auxerre to Gien is forty-four
miles direct; of course, considerably more when
THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 83
allowing for deviations of the road. It is only
when we come upon the Roman roads, of which,
however, there are many in France, that we can
measure Jeanne's journeys wdth any degree of
exactness ; though the tracks most frequently
followed the present lines. A line of road is
one of the most permanent geographical outlines.
It changes its course less frequently than a river,
and walls are not to be compared with it for dura-
bility. The wall of China is the great exception,
but then the Tartars have no roads.
At length they looked over the vale of the
Loire, beyond which lived their friends. Monday
night, the 28th of February, brought them to
Gien, high-seated on its hill above the Loire,
round the base of which the town now nestles.
The red- brick castle, with its high-pitched lead
roof with many pinnacles and fleches, and its tall,
peaked church tower, then, as now, crested the
height above the bridge, the deep-arched, heavily-
buttressed bridge of unequal arches which rises to
an angle of 140'' in the centre. One now^ walks
from the train to the town by the side of vine-
Gien was chosen for their passage of the Loire,
being one of the fcAv tow^ns on the river faithful
to the dauphin. There w^as, however, the doubt as
to whether on their arrival it still belonged to
France. They w^ould have made guarded in-
quiries at Auxerre and later on, but information
was difficult for them to come by without exciting
suspicion, and events moved quickly in those
84 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
times of war. AVas Gien, at that moment, in the
hands of the enemy ? Upon this would depend the
difficulty of the passage of the Loire. Were it a
friendly town, it w^ould be passed by the bridge ;
that is if there was a bridge at all ; in which case
it would be the same bridge that is at present
standing, altered to its present form when the
newly -built bridge of Blois was so greatly admired
in Louis XV. 's time. If Gien were in the hands of
the enemy, they must have passed it by a ferry and
a ford — a matter easy enough, if under the eyes of
friends in the castle above,but otherwise afearful risk.
Oh, joy ! it yet belonged to their friends. Gien
is said to be the first French town Jeanne passed
on the route. Doubtless she rendered thanks for
her safe arrival in the valley of the Loire at the
hio^h-seated church of St. Etienne on the hill
overlooking the river. Its old square, heavily-
buttressed tower remains, though the nave is
modern. One goes up many steps, in two or
three long flights, to reach the church from the
embankment road by the Loire, turning off on
the right to the old castle, which is now the
prefecture. The promenade beyond the church
commands a fine view, with long reaches of the
Loire, flowing by the Orleans she was to save.
The Orleanais soon learned of the Maid's ap-
proach ; she is very likely to have sent them a
message from Gien. Jeanne had quite the modern
idea of saving time by at once preparing for her
next step by letter or by message.
Gien is now a dull little town of five thousand
THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 85
five hundred inhabitants, of the same family as
Blois, and many of the towns on the Loire ; the
conformation of the ground, and therefore their
arrangement, is so similar, as is the waywardness
of the river, that spoiled child among streams.
It can be reckoned upon in its fits of passion,
though not controlled. ' Quel torrent revolu-
tionnaire que cette Loire !' exclaimed the dema-
gogue on seeing the sand-banks brought forward
and left dry by its current. Other people have
also had reflections on the Loire. The engineer
thinks he has perfected mechanism, wdiich he says
is merely educating the forces of Nature as we
train our own strength for use. Yet he vainly tries
to curb this river and make it a useful water-power
and water-way. Did Barrere the democrat reflect
upon the uselessness of an impetuous people
Avhen he only taught them to be self-willed ?
Gien is proud of its potteries and enlivened by
their smoke. Clothes beaten and washed in the
Loire by women is the second active industry.
This goes on always. Jeanne left the shelving
hills and vineyards on the north bank, crossed
the Loire, passed the Celtic tumulus called
' Motte du Leon,' then away through the poplared
levels of the southern bank. Leaving to the
northward the river flowing towards Jargeau and
Orleans, scenes of her future triumphs, she rode
across the then desolate district of La Sologne,
by way of Romorantin on the Sauldre ; though
the little party seem to have avoided the towns
even here in friendly country. Sleeping as they
86 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UAUC.
did out of doors, every night making this more
endurable as the weather and the climate grew
milder, this plan was swifter and safer ; for even
here, or perhaps especially here, past Gien in the
country nominally obedient to Charles VII., there
reigned ' toutes pilleries et roberies.' ^
This part of France is now a great meat pro-
ducing country. There is veal and pork in abun-
dance, and the new line of rail recently opened,
from Romorantin to Blois, is especially useful to
the farmers. The land, though well-cultivated in
parts, is not naturally fertile, for all the splendour
of crimson clover that the summer traveller sees.
There are numerous fir plantations among the re-
mains of ancient forest land. In winter it reveals
itself as still the sad and sandy Sologne.
From Gien to Romorantin it is fifty miles direct.
I shall not describe Romorantin here, as Jeanne
only passed by it on this journey, and in later
times she often had occasion to pass through the
town. Indeed there is very little to describe,
only two market places, side by side, and some
pretty walks by the Sauldre. She followed the
Sauldre from Selles-St. -Denis to Romorantin,
thence by Salbris to Selles-sur-Cher. Murray,
until his very latest edition, does not even men-
tion the place at all.
From Romorantin to Selles-sur-Cher the coun-
try has still the same arid character, but on cross-
ing the Cher, the horizon soon breaks into hills
and undulating forests. The old but insignificant
town of Selles is only of note as a radius for
THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 87
excursions to sundry fine castles in its neighbour-
Leaving Selles, one soon arrives at high-seated
St. Aiman, with its octa^^onal battlemented tower
and its fine romanesque church, with admixture
of early pointed. Tlie present chateau of St.
Aignan is well kept up, with fine gardens beauti-
fully laid out and thrown open to the townspeople.
A tall mass of ruined wall represents much of St.
Aignan's ancient splendour. In these more peace-
ful times, instead of lying close-packed and un-
wholesome within w^alls, it has a flourishing
suburb of tile-roofed houses of hewn-stone, with
artichoke gable-ends ; and on the hills the tile or
plank-roofed huts of vine-dressers, looking most
habitable and comfortable, are set in vineyards
where the earth is ridged high, almost like walls,
to plant new vines.
The scenery is pretty, with a blue distance
which in some dips looks like the sea in its
intensity of azure, and a deep dell full of tall
forest trees, by way of which one comes out upon
a pleasant woodland, with broad oaks in the more
open country, and a foreground of blue columbine,
white orchis, and abundance of the most delicate
little forget-me-nots imaginable, of an exquisite
hue of blue. These gems of colour adorned
Jeanne's triumphant return journey in May ; but
even now the wilder, unploughed portions of the
ground were smiling with primroses and celandines.
This is the light friable soil that chokes the
Loire with its drift. Buttercups stand so thick
88 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
among the corn that the ridge furrows are yellow
Tourists seldom or never come here. There is
no railway in these parts. It exists iiwts primi-
tive simplicity much as Jeanne d'Arc saw it in
her travels, and her peasant eyes were not too
much engaged with things supernatural, or the
affairs of state, to note these things of earth.
Dove-coloured oxen are harrowing on these un-
dulating slopes, and the fields are girt about with
forests, just as they must have been four hundred
and fifty years ago. Many of these oaks must
Jeanne have looked upon, and ridden under their
branches. Her path would have skirted this Bois
de la Laudiere.
The village of Montresor boasts an inn with the
sign of Jeanne d'Arc, although no one now seems
to know anything of the passage of the heroine.
Yet she rode by here several times in her tri-
umphant days when following the court. Chemille
has a romanesque church and the usual domical
stone well- roofs.
From here the ground again rises 'into moorland
with heather, gorse, and brambles ; a brisk, cheery
country, with crisp, fresh fine air and windy blue
sky. Though not yet out in blossom when Jeanne
passed on the 1st of March, this southern province
of Berri was already wreathing itself with spring.
We plunge down hill into the woods again. These
are the woods and hills that slather the rain to
fill the Indre and Cher. The road by the village
of Chemille lies in a white, winding line at the
THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 89
foot of some broken tufa slopes studded with
birch and fir, bordered by golden meadows on the
left, and crosses (now by a bridge) a rush-grown
rivulet, with water-lilies roofing in its stream, before
it ajxain climbs the hill. The villao:es in the vales
have high-pitched gables, spired tourelles, and
peaked stone roofs, sometimes pyramidal, a sur-
vival apparently of old times.
Again we are on high champaign-land, with
corn and vineyards, where kites soaring overhead
pounce down upon the game, heedless of the vine-
dressers at work among the vines. This culti-
vated region is bounded by an oak forest, which
is still so dense that on neither side can daylight
be seen through its intricacies. Much of ancient
travelling must have been done through these
vegetable tunnels. It was a common proverb,
says Richer, ' Que les Anglois, par leur puissance,
avaient fait venir les bois en France.' The English
are not directly responsible for this fine forest, but
industry was so suspended by the war that there
were not hands left sufficient to keep Nature in
subjection. This forest is only pierced by the
road, and landmarked by the obelisk near the
' Mais on forestiere de Beauchene.' Here and there
towers up a monarch beech, but for the most
part it is a fine oak forest with undergrowth of
beeches, fern, and broom. The deeply-ridged
grey freckled stems of the oaks are a contrast
to the satiny smoothness of the beech. The
oaks grow tall, through being so close together,
in the fashion of all French trees, which makes
90 FOOf STEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
the timber better available for building purposes
tlian our large-boiled, spreading trees. Like the
old Romans, the French are builders and road-
makers before all things
People here never seem weary of planting.
The noble forest of Beauchene gradually melts
into the open, lessening into dense oak planta-
tions with green alleys through them, and fir-
clad slopes led up to by hedges lined with
apple-trees. Here we are at a village, Genille,
with the tall, Romanesque spired tower of Beau-
lieu to the left. The abbey church of Beaulieu,
built in the first years of the eleventh century
and consecrated in 1007 under Pope John XVIII.
This carries the imagination back into the gloom
of the dark ages, when art had only dawned in
western architecture. The stone, four- sided roofed
cottage on the hill to the left, ' built very long
ago,' as they say here, looks like the domestic
architecture of almost as early a date, when
strength and durability were the first of quali-
ties in all things made for use.
It is a fair scene, this of the river Indre and
its poplar meadows, with the view of the castle
of Loches ; but it is no longer unknown beauty
here. Historical interest and the picturesque
attract tourists and artists, and the law of cause
and effect has given them a convenient railway
Jeanne d'Arc doubtless left Loches on the right
hand, and pressed onwards towards Chinon ; but
she must have gazed up with even keener interest
THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 91
tlian do the artists at the terribly beautiful group
of towers and gates and lofty walls. Her king
loved the place. Its towers were not yet imbrued
with the crimes of Louis Onze. These and the
tales of Agnes Sorel and her too tender heart
were of a later day. She lived, and was beau-
tiful, but the world knew little of her yet.
Jeanne d'Arc was born in 1412, Ames Sorel in
1400. It is said Charles never saw Agnes till
1431, after the death of Jeanne d'Arc, though
this appears doubtful.
Loches will be more particularized by-and-by
when Jeanne comes to stay in the town ; at
present we will pass it by with merely an up-
ward glance as Jeanne d'Arc did, yet hoping to
see it more nearly, for Loches is all over pic-
turesque charms within and without the fortress
walls. It is well seen from the opposite side of
the Indre, where nightingales and frogs formerly
gave the concert that is now replaced by the
modern music of the military band and the
Even Jeanne must have drawn bridle a moment
to view the scene before crossing the ' amber
meadow.' It glows with the intense yellow formed
by afternoon sunshine upon kingcups, marsh
marigolds, and waterflags. Beyond this, coming
from the Beaulieu road, lies a belt of purple
hills, on the nearest of which rise the tall square
donjon of Loches Castle and the two octagonal
stone spires of the church of St. Ours, above a
portcullised gateway. Below these lie the woods
92 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
and the marsh with tall poplars standing black
as^ainst the sinkino; sun.
Jeanne and her party hastened on ; it was not
wholesome to halt for the night in these low-
lying meadows, they would find drier lodging
among the tufa crags of the further slopes rising
still westward. There is a tradition of bandits
wishing to attack and rob her party somewhere
hereabout (some authors say at L'lle Bouchard),
near the journe3^'s end. It is hinted that La
Tremouille, Charles's chief adviser, Avas a party
to the affair, as he was jealous of every rising
influence. If so, he would have done the work
more effectually. I acquit him of this ; he has
enough to answer for.
AKRIVAL AT CHINON.
* Je te dis de la part de Messire que tu es vray heritier de France
et fils du Roy.' (' 1 tell thee on the part of our Lord that thou art
the true inheritor of France and son of the king.')
Jeanne dArc to Charles the Dauphin.
The court was not at Loches. The dauphin often
resided there, and might have been there now, as
there was no daily court circular published all
over the country to inform everybody of the
royal movements. It was worth while passing
near Loches to see if the royal standard were
raised on the castle, even if it had not lain
directly on the road to Chinon. Taking the
right path instead of the left at the forest of
Manthelau, Jeanne's little escort pressed on by
Avay of Villeperdue, a village too small to be
marked on most maps, but where there is a road-
side railway station on the way to Ste. Maure
on the new line by Port-de-Piles from Tours.
The present communal road leads from Loches
north-westward by Dolus, Tauxigny on the
Echaudon, the large villages of Branchs and
Sorigny, striking south-westward to Villeperdue,
and again south Avard to Ste. Katherine dcFierbois.
94 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
Though now truly answering to its name,
Villeperdue, the lost town, this place has its
oral history. It was the site of a famous Ro-
man villa formerly, called Villa Peurera— at
least so the good nuns, the sisters of the ham-
let, spell it, and they are the guardians of all
knowledo^e that is not lods^ed in the cure. In
its ruins, or on its site, were built the prisons
of the Mussulmans ; for this country was over-
run by the Moors, before they were beaten by
Charles Martel on the plains near by. It be-
longed to the Duke of Anjou, so they say ; but
one cannot find out which line of Anjou, nor if
it was Plantagenet land.
Did Jeanne see it as I see it now, arriving at the
village while the moon was early in the blue sky,
a cusped streak of gold, a broken ring ? Did she
see the fruit-trees, farms, and golden pastures,
and hear the doves cooing, wild birds trilling,
and men rejoicing in this ' pays de rire et de rien
faire ' ? Nature was then as copious as now, we
have not added one to her inventions. It is said
of this rich Touraine that ' Nature does everything
in this country, and man does nothing.' It is less
clean and inviting than Normandy, it is also
more primitive ; that is, it carries one back to the
It is a pleasant ride among fields of clover and
buttercups ' growing lush in juicy stalks,' mea-
dows watered by the Manse, across which is a via-
duct of fifteen arches at Villeperdue, and on
through winding parish Innes, shaded by occasional
ARRIVAL AT CHINON 95
avenues of oak to Ste. Katherine de Fierbois.
Murray calls it a mile or two, which is an error.
It is a good six kilometres, and one has no choice
but to walk the distance, which Joanne's guide-
book asserts is nine kilometres. Murray says
there is an omnibus from Villeperdue to St.
Katherine. This is the most considerable error of
the three : there is really no more omnibus than
there was in Jeanne d' Arc's day.
The road passes between the poor little church
of Villeperdue, sliced off at the gable and with a
penthouse western porch, and the chateau of Bois-
bera, a perfect moated grange, with four round
turrets and a full, square moat, with boat and draw-
bridges complete, and frogs croaking and leaping
out of the forget-me-nots into the yelloAv iris tufts.
Further on, in a pool of yellow water-lilies and
tall bulrush stems, where blue dragon-flies skim the
sunny water, and much life is skippant and jump-
ant, the frogs are thick as leaves in Vallombrosa.
They look like leaves until they splash and leap ;
then these green and yellow caperers look up at
you and swell, and add their bass to the shrill
orchestra of grasshoppers, those violins of the
fields. The land all round is a well-wooded plain.
The light, delicate spire visible to the left is
that of Ste. Katherine de Fierbois, where Jeanne
found her famous sword, usually termed ' I'epee
miraculeuse.' It was the ao^e of leo-ends of mar-
vellous swords, they fitted well into chivalric
poems. With the winding of the road the spire
next appears on the right : it looks prettier than
96 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
the church towers we have latterly seen ; for the
churches since Beaulieu have been architecturally
insignificant, with plain, low, square towers, and
funnel-shaped slate spires. Hereabouts the Moor
was stayed by Charles Martel ; here came Jeanne
d'Arc. No one comes here now ; it has no special
attraction of scenery. Yet it is a pleasant land
and a goodly. Historians following each other
speak of Ste. Katherine as a famous pilgrimage.
It is called a pilgrimage now in Joanne's guide-book,
yet it is not famous, or at least, not frequented.
Doubtless Jeanne chose to halt here and wait
for the return of her messenger to the dauphin,
because the village bore the name of St. Katherine,
Colet de Vienne, the king's messenger, rode
forward with a letter, in which Jeanne asked per-
mission to seek the dauphin at Chinon, and detail-
ed to him her mission, a letter which threw
Charles and his court into a great state of agita-
tion and confliction. Jeanne meanwhile halted
on Friday night, and stayed all through Saturday,
the 5th of March, at Ste. Katherine, her soul
thirsting for God's comfort. The name seemed to
bring her so near the presence of her Voices : that
music which cheered her and made her for-
get her fatigues. She attended divine service
three times on the same day. This implies a
day's halt, for consideration, doubtless, and the
preparation of her letter, as well as for the
despatch of the courier to Chinon, at twenty
miles distant, and his return, which could not in
ARRIVAL AT CHIN ON. 97
any case be before Saturday evening. They had
also to rest the tired horses.
From Yaucouleurs to Ste. Katherine is two
hundred and seventy-seven miles direct as the
crow flies, measured according to the scale of the
map, without allowance for hills or obstructions.
Wednesday, Feb. 23th. — Vaucouleurs to St. Ur-
bain, twenty-eight miles.
Thursday, Feb. 24th. — St. Urbain to Bar-sur-
Aube, twenty-eight miles.
Friday, Feb. 25th. — Bar-sur-Aube to Bar-sur-
Seine. (Bar-sur-Aube to Auxerre is sixty-
two miles direct, map measurement.)
Saturday, Feb. 26th. — Bar-sur-Seine to Chaource,
on the road to Auxerre.
Sunday, Feb. 27th. — Halt of half-a-clay at Aux-
erre ; they rode on towards Gien.
Monday, Feb. 28th. — Gien, by the Bleneau or
Toucy road ? (Auxerre to Gien is forty -four
Tuesday, March 1st. — Crossed the Loire, took the
road by the Sauldre river by Salbris.
Wednesday, March 2nd. — Salbris to Romorantin.
(Gien to Romorantin is fifty miles.)
Thursday, March 3rd. — Passed Selles-sur-Cher and
Friday, March 4th. — Passed Loches and arrived at
Ste. Katherine de Fierbois.
Saturday, March 5th. — Rested at Ste. Katherine.
(Romorantin to Ste. Katherine is sixty miles
direct, it is more by the communal roads.)
Sunday, March 6th. — Rode to Chinon.
98 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
These distances are measured to the entrance of
each town ; one must reckon about a mile for the
breadth of the towns. (The kilometre-stones
always reckon distances from the ' Place ' or centre
of the town.) This is averaging over thirty miles
a day as the crow flies. Of course much allow-
ance must be made for obstructions on the route,
hills, forests, watercourses, rivers, and necessary
deviations. This on good modern roads would
bring it to at least five miles a day more. In the
tracks of that time the calculation should be
greater. Three hundred and thirty miles is a
moderate computation of the actual distance.
Truly the horses would need rest. According to
Jeanne's guide, Jean de Novelonpont (cle Metz),
they had made in eleven days one hundred and
fifty leagues, approximately, or indeed well-nigh
exactly so according to my calculation, remember-
ing that the French league is 2*72'^ English statute
^ But the souvenirs of Novelonpont,' Henry
Martin says, 'are not exact (fideles), the journey
lasted twenty days.' Martin gives no data for
this, and I should like to know a better authority
for the length of the journey than he who made it.
' L'avant-dernier continuateur de Guillaume de
Nangis ' ^ gives the date of the 6th of March for
Jeanne's arrival at Chin on, calling it the day
following her arrival at Ste. Katherine. This
might be so, supposing she arrived at early
morning at Ste. Katherine ; but we know she
* 'Proces,'t. iv., p. 303.
ARPdVAL AT CHIN ON. 99
spent the whole day there, and heard mass three
Leaving Vaucoiileurs on February 23rd, and
arriving at Chinon on the 6th of March, as seems
to be certain, she must have arrived at Ste.
Katherine on the evening of the 4th of March, or,
at the very latest, the early morning of the 5th,
as we must allow for her courier's return from
Chinon with the answer to her letter, even sup-
posing it to be answered without delay, since one
cannot reckon it at less than a day's hard riding
from Ste. Katherine to Chinon and back ; with a
fresh horse for the return journey. And this
corresponds with the eleven days of Jean de Metz.
An eleven days' ride through a disturbed country
at a time when its roads, such as they were in
those days, were at their worst, the frost thaAved
and the paths not yet dried by the sun and wind
of March, was no small feat for a peasant girl Avho
had never been used to horseback. In all this
long ride Jeanne showed a firm fearlessness which
gave her companions confidence. They traversed
the several provinces unimpeded, as if the country
were at peace, without let or hindrance and with-
out meeting any troops. Now they seemed at
their journey's end, and now came the usual in-
decision (though not on the part of Jeanne) about
what to do when they arrived, which seems so
small a point at the beginning of a long road.
Then we think the thing is to reach the journey's
end — andthatisall. Jeanie Deans found thedifficul-
100 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC,
ties after arrival the greatest, so did Jeanne d'Arc. '
One gets to know the country well in riding
or in walking across it. It is a thin line
that one walks through, but the eye covers an
average range of twenty-five miles on either side,
and the slowness of the pace leaves one time to
observe it carefully. Tradition says the church
of Ste. Katherine was founded by Charles Martel
in the eighth century. It was rebuilt by Charles
VII. and Louis XL The present church of Ste.
Katherine de Fierbois is decorated Gothic of the
flamboyant period, with what appears at a distance
a bottle-shaped spire ; which is really a wooden
steeple, with flying buttresses. It has crockets,
finials, and an elaborate west front. All the
portals are crocketed and pinnacled, and yet it is
little more than an ordinary village church. It is
very well taken care of, and sets a good example
to country churchwardens.
A tablet relates how the vaulted roof of the
chapel in the southern aisle, having been totally
destroyed by the fall of its surmounting gable,
the workmen of the parish, responding to the
appeal of their pastor, Monsieur I'Abbe Maubois,
gratuitously restored this roof, for which the
materials were given by the Marquis de Lussac.
This work was done with so much zeal that it was
executed in the eight days preceding the feast of
A modern painted window in this aisle re-
presents St. Katherine, and beneath her picture
one of the vision appearing to Jeanne d'Arc, with
ARRIVAL AT CHIN ON. 101
the inscription : ' Ici Jeanne d'Arc fit prendre son
epee en 1429 pour sauver la France. Souvenir du
10 Mai, 1879.'^' Here was found the famous sword
' marked with five crosses, lying in a vault,' which
Jeanne d'Arc sent for before she went to raise
the siege of Orleans. It was found behind, or
within, the tomb said to be that of Charles
Martel. Though legend has gathered round this
sword, yet Jeanne is not responsible for that.
The sword might easily have been seen by her
during the day she spent in the church : or she
may possibly not have seen the sword, but priests
at Ste. Katherine may have told her of it. The
tomb and the supposed position of the sword were
where the present high altar stands. The whole
church has a vaulted roof of white stone. The
holy water stoup is of an early period. It is a
deep oval stone dish set on a low, round pillar.
There is no statue of Jeanne here nor in the vil-
lage. A cross stands in the ' place ' in front of
the church. The w^hiteness of the stone gives a
brand-new appearance to all buildings hereabout.
A new-looking house near the church is really a
very old one. It has a crocketed portal with
wyverns, shields, and other decorations, some of
which have been carefully restored in the original
style. Little is to be learnt from the people here
concerning Jeanne d'Arc. Nobody seems able to
understand why anyone should come to Ste.
Katherine. The good souls evidently have no
idea of tourists or pilgrims* An intelligent lad of
* ' Here Jeanne cVArc took her sword in 1429 in order to fcave France.'
102 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
seventeen, from whom I inquired the way out of
Ste. Katherine, wondered who on earth could have
directed me from Tours to Chinon by way of
Villeperdue and Ste. Katherine ! He considered it
an immense loss of time and money. Had he
known all, he would have thought me mad.
There is no carriage, neither horse nor cart for
hire at the ' Jeanne d'Arc ' inn, whose walls are
hung with such flaring prints of the heroine that
it is no wonder they do not venerate her here.
The crockery also depicts the story of Jeanne
d'Arc, and how she hewed the English army in
pieces at the battle of Patay. It seems as if
Jeanne d'Arc and ourselves were the only
strangers who had ever found their way to Ste.
Katherine. We must walk on to Ste. Maure.
The place abounds chiefly in deficiencies ; no
omelette — they are saving all the eggs hereabout
for sitting : no post-cards — they are out of them,
as they are out of most things at the general
shop : no cure — he had gone to Tours to meet the
archbishop — indeed, we met him driving a dog-
cart at a good pace upon our road : no conveni-
ence for washing, so we went outside and pumped
upon our hands. But pilgrimage has its allevia-
tions ; they have andouilles, for those who are
able to eat them, and the white wine of the coun-
try is refreshing and pleasant.
We sat on a well under a willow at the cross
roads till some one should pass of whom we might
ask the way to Ste. Maure ; but everyone was at
siesta. To the left of the straight, scorching high
ARRIVAL AT CHINON. 103
road is the Chateau de Comarque, of which the
photographs bear an inscription, remarkable for
its inexactitude : 'Chateau Comacre (or Comarque)
near Ste. Maure, belonging to Monsieur le Marquis
de Lussac, remarkable for the chapel of St. Cath.
de Fierbois, where Jeanne d'Arc went to seek
the sword which Avas deposited on the tomb of
Charles Martel, in order to lay siege to Orleans.'
This is liable to mislead a pilgrim to suppose
that the chapel of the sword is in the Chateau de
Comarque, a modern Gothic chateau, built in
1850. The traditions concerning Jeanne d'Arc
are as vague and inaccurate as those connected
with Charles Martel. The unsophisticated people
have not localised the sites ; thus the spot where
Charles slew Abderahmen is waved to as every-
where within twenty kilometres, at an angle under
180*^ of horizon. At least, one is not disturbed
by the fictions and vulgarisms that crowd round
more sacred localities in the Holy Land.
The supposed ambush laid for Jeanne as a test
of her mission has been located between this place
and LTle Bouchard. I re2:ard this ambush as a
Later on we found a turfy bank in the fretted
shadows of some pollard willows, growing deep in
grass in undulating ground, near a sort of viaduct,
or bridge, over a poplar dell. Here we rested, look-
ing up at the intense blue zenith, sung to by the
birds and played to by the aBolian harp in the
But Jeanne was no longer weary here ; she had
104 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
just been sent for by the king ; her hope had cul-
minated in fulfihnent. A determined will carries
victory with it. Thus Jeanne came from Vaucou-
leurs. The first stage of her mission was achieved.
Now came the tests of truth ; and the task of con-
quering Charles's dread of ridicule. In one sense
ridicule is the test of truth : truth meets with
ridicule and vanquishes it, with the hammer-logic
of an accomplished fact. As it was in the days of
Noah, so it always . is in the outset of any high
promise, any great truth. It is only falsehood
that is run after by the multitude.
It is six kilometres to Ste. Maure, where there
are conveyances to be had to the railways (some
cross-lines are within reach of Ste. Maure by omni-
bus), or to the Dolmen of Ste. Maure not far from
Bommiers. From Ste. Maure to LTle Bouchard,
still following Jeanne's route, it is a pleasant
drive of about ten miles through undulating
country of well- watered park-like scenery with
golden-brown oak-trees, where chalk-burning is
the principal industry besides agriculture. The
river Vienne flowing through the valley, spread-
ing here and there into the appearance of a lake,
reflects the poplars on its banks. Oak-trees line
the roads, and walnuts and other fruit-trees are
numerous. The people go bare-foot ; wooden
shoes are the luxurious exception ; yet they look
well-fed, well-housed, and well-to-do.
LTle Bouchard has a double bridge over the
Vienne, which here forms an island. The town was
doubtless in former days nothing but a fortified
ARRIVAL AT CHINON. 105
island. The walls have only been partially de-
stroyed, and there are the ruins of a castle. It
is an old-world place, with winding streets just
wide enouo:h to admit a carriao^e between the
house-fronts. There are few foot-paths. The in-
teresting church, always the apex of the people's
culture, has a flamboyant hexagonal tower, a
crocketed stone spire, and elaborate romanesque
doorways. The chancel is early-pointed.
Here one can take the train to Chin on, but it
is not too far for a drive. Jeanne d'Arc perhaps
thought it an easy day's journey from St. Kathe-
rine to Chinon, but it is the very utmost if her
courier could have ofone and returned in the same
day with her letter. He must have started at
There is a delightful old cruciform romanesque
church between I'lle Bouchard and Sazilly.
The Villa Anceiensi of the Latin records of Jeanne's
trials, where her mother is said to have lived
during the proces of her rehabilitation, was Anche,
a village between Chinon and I'lle Bouchard. The
approach to Chinon is not imposing ; the castle
does not look so high-seated as it really is.
Jeanne was at length at Chinon. The king
was at his last gasp : drowning, he clung to a
straw. Still, for fear of ridicule, that terror of
Aveak minds, he dreaded to receive her whom the
enthusiastic common people reckoned as an angel.
Truly she was to him an angel, the messenger sent
from heaven to serve him in his dire need. But
could God really have sent him such a simple instru-
106 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
ment, a mere shepherdess, who could not read or
write, nor speak the French language correctly?
He would have had more faith in the magical sword
of Fierbois, and far more in a chest of treasure.
Jeanne could speak to the point ; she had in-
telligence equal to her courage, and she Avas being
educated all this while. Jeanne saw the world ;
this was her university, the different grades of
society she mingled with, the different ^forms' of
her school. Fear of the Lord had given her prin-
ciples, a happy home-life had established them in
love, like apples of gold set in pictures of silver.
Law she learnt first at Toul, then at Poitiers, last at
Rouen. Manners she learnt in courts ; she also
learnt to loathe their vacillation and their faith-
lessness, first at Nancy, then at Chinon, then at
Saint Denis. Against law, courts, and treachery
were her hardest battles. Actual combat was
easier. She was a being d'elite ; acting of her
own free will, Jeanne gave herself into the hands
of God, eager to do His will, patient while He
should bring it to pass, knowing that the wrath
(or hurry) of man worketh not the righteousness
Two days more to wait, while the court was
deliberating or disputing whether she should be
seen by Charles or not. It was the last hope of
the people of Orleans ; their deputies were at
Chinon awaitinsr the kino:'s decision. Ecclesiastics
and others came to examine her, but she would
only deliver her actual message to the king him-
self Jeanne carried a letter — cold enough, doubt-
ARRIVAL AT CHINON. 107
less — from the governor of Vaucouleurs, and,
better than this, the warm witness of the com-
panions of her journey, who averred themselves
more fully settled in their belief in her mission
since their more intimate knowledge of her
Where was she all this time, since she was not
admitted into the actual castle of Chinon ? Most
writers, led by Berriat Saint Prix, sjDcak of her
being detained in the Chateau de Coudrai, seven
miles off. This is far to 2:0 for what is nearer at
hand. Within the walls of the fortress, though
apart from the castle itself, is a strong, habitable
tower called the Tour de Coudrai, where tradition
has always said that Jeanne was kept safe, but
hidden, until the time she was admitted to see
the king. This is one of the mistakes that are at
once cleared up to the satisfaction of one's mind
at the sight of the places. Seven miles off is too
far and too inconvenient for the hourly messages
and conversations that are implied in the history
of these two days.
The way up to the castle from the town is by
a sort of paved gutter rather than a lane, then up
a good many steps, where there are dwellings in
the thickness of the old walls ; poor people have
burrowed here, as all through this province they
are used to the idea of excavatino; dwellino^s in
the calcareous tufa.
There is a fine view of the winding river Vienne
and the surrounding landscape from the bridge
leading across to the donjon. Many of these
108 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
castles near the Loire are magnificently situated ;
their windows command views which show fine
taste on the part of the monarchs who loved these
residences. Chin on was a favourite abode of our
Henry TL and Coeur de Lion. Both their tombs
are near by at Fontevrault.
A portcullis entrance admits one to a garden of
red roses within the loop-holed walls. The view
traced from left to right includes a twin-towered
church, the town seated on its islands, with a sus-
pension-bridge and a double stone bridge over the
two branches of the river. A romanesque church,
with a stone spire, lies immediately below the
castle, which is surrounded by the townspeoples'
gardens lying deep below the walls. The castle is
built of the abundant w^hite stone of the country,
like everything else ; even the cottages are built
of this fair, hewn stone. This whiteness makes
the ruins appear more ghostly, especially by
moonlight, though it detracts from their pictur-
esqueness by day.
One is mercifully allowed to wander about
alone in the labyrinth of these grass-grown walls,
thick with poppies and bugloss, wild oats and
mignonette, ^ creatures whose ofiice it is to abate
the grief of ruin by their gentleness.'
The former royal apartments are comprised in
theprincipalmass of the ruins. Though nowno floors
remain, nothing but ih^ grass-grown ground, some-
times paved, sometimes cellared with dungeons,
one can trace on the walls of the first floor as it was
formerly, the deeply embrasured fireplace, with
ARBIVAL AT CHTNON. 109
columned chimney-breast, of the room where, as
the tablet says, Jeanne d'Arc came to recognise
Charles VIL, and another plainer fireplace below
this and slightly to the right, which warmed the
room beneath. The joist holes are also visible.
The lower room has a narrow window overlookinsr
the river, skewed into the thickness of the wall.
Some of the other rooms are less ruinous than
these, and still retain their pleasant splayed win-
dow-seats, and the transoms, and sometimes the
whole ' croisee ' of their windows. The fireplace
in the third room is the most perfect, showing
remains of sculpture on the columns of the chim-
ney-piece ; a fourth room closes the series ; beyond
this is a tower- stair and a yawning depth between
the dwelling-house, or palace, and an external
tower. A large wild-rose-tree grows in a corner
of this fourth room and a narrow staircase leads
down to — one shudders to think where.
Yonder, from a cliff-like tower, the breeze is
' wafting wall-fiower scents,
From out the crumbling ruins of fallen pride,
And chambers of transgression, now forlorn.'
Out in the garden, or yard, across a bridge over
a moat in which grow lofty walnut-trees, elder,
nettles, and ivy-masses, are two round towers, one
perfect in its battlements and machicolations, with
a vaulted roof, like a chapel; the other more
ruinous, and grass-grown on the top. A garden
of pink roses, with a grass-plot sprinkled with
peonies and poppies, sheltered by an arbor-vitae
hedge, leads to a further tower and more remains
110 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ABC.
of the castle wall. There is a lovely view from
this more distant tower, the Tour du Moulin, the
oldest part of the castle, built by the Normans. It
has a lofty, hexagonal vaulted roof and three
arched loopholes, besides the window and the
door. Above this vaulted room are gutters for
pouring down lead upon assailants. The well
appears to be still in use.
Chinon is as finely situated as Amboise : both
were French kings' favourite castles overlooking
towns built on islands of a river ; but how differ-
ent their story — one is a ruined Windsor, over-
grown with weeds, the other is now a small
modern chateau with a paradise of a garden.
Another tower contains the chapel of St. Martin,
where Jeanne d'Arc retired to pray on the even-
ing of the 8th of March, 1429, after she had had
audience of the king. So says a tablet. Another
wooden tablet hanging at the door of the Tour du
Coudrai marks that it was inhabited by Jeanne
d'Arc from the time of her presentation to King
Charles VII. on the 8th of March, 1429, until the
20th of April, the date of her departure for Tours
and Orleans. A statement full of inaccuracies, as
is the way of such inscriptions, but yet a far
more likely story than that she was sent to
Chateau Coudrai seven miles off. This is more
consistent with the fact of audiences with her by
Charles's suite. It was outside the royal residence,
beyond the bridge and yet within the fortress, a
lofty round tower above the inner moat. Acacias
and other trees surround the Tower of Coudray
ARRIVAL AT CHINON. Ill
on the garden side, and honeysuckle, beautiful
but scentless, clings about it.
The oblong portcullis tower of entrance to the
ruins has its machicolations perfect, each one
hollow and headed by a trefoil. This gateway is
of later date than the rest of the castle. Murray
calls it the donjon : here they call it the Tour de
I'Horloge. It was built by Charles VII., at that
later date when, thanks to Jeanne d'Arc, he was
enabled to build. It commands fine views of land
and river. It is inhabited by the guardian of the
ruins and his family. One can mount the steep
winding stair to the top and walk round this lofty
tower outside. The machicolation holes, barred
over by iron, command the approaches ; on every
side stones, arrows, or melted lead could be rained
upon assailants. Its top stones are firmly iron-
clasped together. From this height the garden
and weedy courtyards of the castle look almost
like a forest. The donjon is in itself a highly
picturesque object, with its gable roof and two
pointed spires, one of them a slate spire, the other
an umbrella roof with weather- cocks, and stone
chimneys of quaint fashion built between them.
At length Jeanne was introduced to the castle
by the Count of Vendome, and brought before
Charles, this reckless inheritor of a glorious past.
She recognised the king at once ; she saw through
the simple trick of a frivolous disguise. No child's
play could deceive the clear eyes of one who was
so in earnest. She could read features, and had
often heard the king described. What were trifling
112 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
diiFerences of dress, or ornament, or of position in
the room to her, who knew nothing about such
things ? She was sent there to work, to save
France ; the God in whom she trusted could lead
her straight to him to whom she was sent.
' God give you good life, fair dauphin,' or fair
king, for it seems uncertain which title she used
on this occasion, though otherwise she never ad-
dressed Charles as king until after his coronation.
Indeed, although he had already been king for
seven years, since 1422, he is called indiscrimi-
nately king or dauphin by all historians, notwith-
standing that Louis, his son, was actually dauphin ;
such stress was laid by contemporaries on the
sanctity of the coronation and anointing.
Jeanne at once entered upon the subject of her
mission — the four charges, or burdens (quatuor
onera) laid upon her : 1, to raise the siege of
Orleans ; 2, to cause the king to be crowned and
anointed ; 3, to drive out the English (from the
whole of France ?) ; 4, to deliver the Duke of
Orleans from the hands of the English. This
captive prince, taken at Agincourt, had become
for Jeanne a personification of the nation, like
Charles VII. himself. The poet Duke of Orleans,
ungrateful as Charles himself, has not dedicated
a single verse to the memory of Jeanne d'Arc.
The king was convinced of the truth of her mis-
sion after some private talk with her — at least, he
professed himself to be so. Jeanne was cheered.
Her king was another St. Michael to her, a pro-
sopopoeia of her own enthusiastic love.
ARRIVAL AT CHINON. 113
' Ah ! fallacies of youth's first flower,
When all seems bright and good.'
Among the nobles round was the young Duke
of Alen9on, who lived in the neighbourhood at
St. Florent-les-Saumur. The king named him to
' Be welcome,' she said ; ' more there are to-
gether of the royal blood of France, the better it
It was a bewildering sight to the humble Lor-
rainaise to see these gay and jewelled darlings of
a court, so young, so reckless, and so frolicsome,
presenting in the varied costume of their office
much the aspect of a fancy ball — priests, and the
chancellor in robes of peace ; knights and youthful
nobles wdth the colours of their ladies ; courtiers
with what Froissart calls ' hattes of biever and
eustrydes fethers ;' and the poet Alain Chartier,
the king's secretary, author of ' La Belle Dame
sans mercy,' with his sugar-loaf hat hung by rib-
bons at his back. Add to these the train of ladies
in the suite of the queen-dowager of Sicily, mother
of the queen, Mary of Anjou, (' a princess of great
merit and prudence,' who does not appear to have
been there,) and Jeanne might well be dazzled.
Yet her head was not turned ; she was self-pos-
sessed and outwardly calm, very simple and speak-
ing little ('moult simple et peu parlant ') ; but when
she spoke her words were worthy of record. She
Avas more remarkable to these people than they to her.
Great personages came to see her in the Tower of
Coudray, and she showed good countenance before
lU FOOTSTEPS 0I< JEANNE TfARC.
them; but when she was alone she wept andprayed.
She yielded to grief, being too simple to deny pain.
Emotional persons — those who have thesensitive
fibre of genius — in youth have their tears very near
their eyes. Jeanne had this sensitive temperament,
and she was only seventeen. She was high-strung
and set to brilliant music; the tension once relaxed,
the tones resounded in a melancholy minor. She
was alone, too, in the midst of a strange life, dif-
ferent in her dress, her origin, her habits from
everyone about her ; watched with jealousy and
curiosity, like an actress or an object in a show ;
thronged by people who had no earnestness, no
heroism in their hearts ; headed by a prince who
was at best but another Second Charles Stuart, king
of England, willing to let anyone who would toil
for him, while he would only enter into their la-
bours. ' L'initiative appartient toujours a quel-
qu'un.' That one was never Charles the dauphin,
the natural leader. One wonders how Jeanne en-
dured him for a day ; but the reverential nature
does not willingly see blemishes in its idol. He
represented every principle of right for her, and
perhaps, too, the strong nature unconsciously
pitied and yearned over the weaker one.
Jeanne was a true Frenchwoman, essentially a
Frenchwoman in her brightness, sense, taste
(this is implied from old writings), vivacity
of speech, and, above all, in her affections.
This natural affection is pre-eminent among
the French ; it is this most of all that makes them
bad colonists : they leave their heart behind them.
ARRIVAL AT CHINON. 115
The Germans weep, but they go ; we, too, go out
into the world, but wq do not weep. The bravest
of the French have not strength voluntarily to
quit their own people and their father's house.
They are right, no prospective good compen-
sates for the sundering of all natural ties. That
fine and picturesque young man, Alphonse Pou-
lard, fisherman and baker of Mont St. Michel,
was right when he told me, ^Non, je ne voudrais
pas quitter ma patrie pour devenir riche autre
part.' He spoke the French mind. It is not the
best of the French nation whom we find cruising
about the world.
It was this loneliness that made Jeanne's heart to
ache amid all her glory. Yet Jeanne had sources of
happiness that none around her understood, the
companionship of her Voices, and the j oy of supreme-
ly loving God. Her manners were necessarily good,
lacing free and simple ; as Burton, the Eastern
traveller, says, ' vulgarity and affectation, awk-
wardness and embarrassment, are weeds of civil-
ized growth, unknown to the people of the desert,'
so they were to this peasant maiden. Although
a peasant, Jeanne was a being all poetry, the
heroic poetry of action. For me I dare not write
her history in prose, I can only rub in the back-
ground. A Homer might approach the theme in
lofty verse. Poetry, in life, does not usually sur-
vive a certain amount of civilization nor wealth.
Madame de Stael says truly, the lower orders are
much nearer being poets than the people of good
society, for, as she goes on to say still more philo-
116 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
sophically, ' Conventionality and persiflage are
only of use to serve as fences (bounds), they can
inspire nothing. The tone of society is favourable
to the poetry of grace and gaiety, but let a being
of superior order step in and the poet at once
feels a want of harinoay in the tAvo creations,' one
feels as if the lighter things must be swept away
before the coming of a ruler. So Alain Chartier
seems to have felt toAvards Jeanne ; he, the poet,
could feel that here was another type from theirs.
' The large and clear conception, the breadth of
view, the passion held in leash, the tremulously
earnest tone, the utter forgetfulness of self ' of acon-
quering reformer were imaged in this young girl
of majestic stature, but Avith still childish features
and delicate bloom. History describes her as
having had eyes of that uncertain colour between
brown and green Avhich are ahvays so expressive
and so melting ; broAvn, finely-draAvn eyebroAVS, and
plentiful chestnut hair, cut round in equal length
to the top of the neck ; a sweet smile, a av ell-formed
nose, delicate vermilion lips, the hollow between
the loAver lip and chin deeply marked, and the
chin rather pointed. She had a fine contour of
face, and a fair, Avhite neck ; a candid expression
of angelic purity, Avith a tinge of melancholy. She
had long taper fingers and nervous hands, Avell-
formed, but thin rather than rounded. Her
countryAvoman speaks of her as ' having only the
strength that comes from on high : inspired by
religion, a poet in her actions, a poet also in her
Avords AA^hen the Divine spirit animates them ;
ARRIVAL AT CHINON. 117
showing sometimes in her speech an admirable
genius, sometimes an absolute ignorance of all
which heaven has not revealed to her.' Madame de
Stael knew Jeanne chiefly through the unnaturally
coloured medium of Schiller. The only histories
she could have read were Lenglet du Fresnoy's,
which L'Averdy justly declares is tres mediocre^
and L'Averdy's compilation of old MS. which
Lenglet de Fresnoy as truly calls tres precieux.
We, whose Christianity is so much an effort of
the intellect or of custom, cannot conceive the
fervour of the lower classes whose hope, love, and
expansion it was in the middle-ages, before print-
ing had rendered other forms of soul-growth
possible. The Rev. C. J. Robertson speaks of
this as ' religious emotion, in which thought and
logic are all but consumed in love.'
The inspired one has more, not less, native
sense than others. The faculties of more clearly
perceiving, and obediently listening to, the high-
est voice ; the world, which runs after all manner
of thought-reading, spirit-rapping, or mere un-
belief, chooses to call this reverent spirit — mania.
Charles's court, occupied with making the most
of their youth-time, with the dalliance of love and
what ill-fortune had left them of the joys of life, felt
humbled by this stern young follower of duty, who,
while filled with enthusiasm, retained the innocent
purity and sweet thoughts of earliest youth. Be-
fore this pure young Christian they were as Pagans
lapped in sensual delights. Her overpowering
influence was felt from the moment of her arrival
118 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
upon the scene, a weight to some, an uplifting to
It was a god-like power and mastery which they
could not choose but feel. At once historical and
marvellous, the character and deeds of Jeanne
stand out like fragments of Homeric tale. As in
Homer, there are words and touches in the old
chronicles of her life which give us the heroine in
her image as she stood with a vividness which none
of our modern lens-painting can achieve ; crystal-
lized — finished as an anthem by Mozart ; and
there is a spiritual side to her history which
makes us hardly able to realize that these things
occurred so late in recorded circumstance, so near
to our own day : the age of divine mysteries being
— as most people think — over. Noble ideas still lived
in France, and were respected, but they were not
practised, at any rate not by those whose highest
use in life is the wide example their high position
enables them to show. The glamour of sweetness
that rests like the Aving of a pardoning angel on the
memory of Agnes Sorel is as firelight unto sun-
light near the pure fervour of Jeanne d'Arc. Most
people think of them together. When we men-
tally run over the history of France in the
fifteenth century, it is not the kings and states-
men whom the memory calls up ; it is the women.
It is Katherine the Fair, foolish and feeble, the
common man's feminine ideal ; Isabeau, the in-
famous ; Agnes Sorel, the beautiful and high-
spirited, beneficent and tender-hearted, and
Jeanne, the servant of the Most High. Even
ARRIVAL AT CHINON. 119
Dunois, oak of chivalry, comes after these, and
Charles is well-nigh forgotten. He is only a
This picturesque figure in her male attire now
occupied for over two weeks, from the 6th to the
20th of March, the attention of the triflers and
the hopes of the serious. Concerning her dress,
the Archbishop of Embrun sensibly remarks,
later, ' It is more decent to do these things in
man's dress, since one is obli2:ed to do them
among men.' Truly Jeanne was a wonderful
person, yet — now rose the terrible doubt whether
she might be a sorceress.
THE TRIAL AT POITIERS.
' En nom Dieu/ repliqua Jeanne, ' je ne suis pas venue a Poitiers
pour faire signes ; mais menez-moi a Orleans, et je vous montrerai les
signes pour quoi je suis envoy ee. Qu'on me donne si peu de gens
qu'on voudra, j'irai a Orleans.' (' In God's name,' replied Jeanne,
' I have not come to Poitiers to make signs ; but take me to Orleans,
and I will show you the signs for which I am sent. Let them give
me as few men as they will, I will go to Orleans.')
From Chinon the maid was sent to Poitiers, at
the end of March, for examination by the doctors
of divinity and laws. She had been gaining
ground all this time, practising herself in all the
necessary warlike exercises in which she soon be-
came skilful and graceful. 'Taught by the
willing mind that what it well desires gains aptly.'
She is said to have ridden at the quintain, and
her skill on horseback caused the Duke of Alen-
9on to give her a present of a fine horse. She
also practised the use of the cross-bow and other
weapons. These exercises braced her physical
frame, and counteracted her excitable mental
temperament and kept it balanced. Now she was
thought worthy of a hearing.
Oh, the relief of escape from a court and con-
124 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
stant watching, to canter over the plains once
more. These green plains of Ste. Maure, fairer
than when she saw them last, these waving
battle-fields of Saracens, under the caroub-trees
and the blue sky. No wonder the Moors thought
the climate would suit them, with its rich green,
waving crops and cool shade, ' the food of vision,'
as the Arabs call it. The country grows more
decidedly southern in its character directly one
crosses the bridge over the Vienne. Water-
melons and great gourds and maize cover the
ground Avith their quick growth, the shade of the
walnut-trees is inky black in the dazzling white
sunshine, and long bean-pods dangling from very
large leaved trees give a juxta-tropical character
to the vegetation. Two crops of hay and every
other harvest come ofi* the ground, ploughed by
the tawny oxen twice a year, and the leavings
support a teeming life of black fowls, geese,
and other small stock. The rich red-coloured
gravel soil is watered by a cool green river,
which the road follows on to ih^ foot of the steep
hill leading up to the town of Poitiers. Here
one enters by the Porte de Paris, near the ruins
of the ancient chateau.
It is fifty miles from Chinon to Poitiers ; a
two days' ride for the more easy-going people
who now accompanied Jeanne d'Arc; though
her faithful friend, Jean de Metz, still remain-
ed with her. They stayed at Chatellerault
for the night, only next day following on the
Vienne until it joins the valley of the Clain,
THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 125
whose rocky ravines are full of scenic beauty,
of the kind that moderns admire, rather than
did Jeanne d' A re's contemporaries ; to them ' the
profit of our land must pass the beauty,' as
old Chapman words Homer's meaning and" his
I know no town which so much reminds me
of Jerusalem as Poitiers. The intense blue,
burning sky, with a white heat round the sun ;
the arid rocky nature of most of the surround-
ing landscape, relieved by groves of verdure in
the vales, and the keen air felt on the summit
of the hill where the white stony town lies so
closely packed. The sumptuous and peculiarly
romanesque fa9ade of Notre Dame much resembles
the church of the Holy Sepulchre ; and in both
cities one soon gets the habit of examining every
stone with interest ; unlike the inhabitants of
both, who have ' inherited a long past without
thinking of it.' For all these reasons it also
resembles Toledo. Poitiers is eminently what
George Eliot calls ^ one of those old, old towns
which impress one as a continuation and out-
growth of Nature.' A town familiar with for-
gotten years, ' which carries the traces of its long
growth and history like a millennial tree.'
Jeanne may not have been to the Ecole de Droit,
where our Bacon studied law, most of that buildino-
is of later date ; but she must, during her stay, have
seen the ancient curiosities of the place, for Poi-
tiers is even now a museum of archaBolomcal his-
tory, dating from pre-Christian Rome to Napoleon
126 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
TIL, and the plain courtyard of the Law School
holds an epitome of all this histoiy.
Even now there are old capitals and sarcophagi
strewn about the courtyard, in curious contrast
with its trim central garden, full of asters. One
of these stone coffins is shaped and hollowed for
the head and shoulders of the corpse ; one is a
very curious double tomb, the bodies lying fan-
wise, in wedge-shaped coffins, side by side. The
Musee lapidaire, of which these things are the
unplaced debris, contains many Roman and Gallic
remains ; one, an archaic female figure, holding
an infant, inscribed ' Lepidava Lentise Reginiuxor
lepidare gini hi pietati.'
One cannot find much remaining of the Roman
amphitheatre. 'Ah, madame ! il n'y a plus cles
arenes ; on a tout demoli ; les locat aires ne
voulaient pas que ca tombassent sur leurs tetes :
c'est un quartier neuf.' And so it is ; the in-
habitants, true to their habits of burrowing, have
burroAved it down over their heads ; and the
new stone, shaped by nature for building pur-
poses, is as white as whitewash.
One gets a peep of Roman work — a crumbling
arch ; it is what remains of the arena. A petri-
fied diorama, on Avhich are traced the shadows
of the Roman, Moor, and GauL 'Helas tout!'
they tell me, or nearly all, for by poking about,
as only antiquarians care to do, one can discover
more. There are four or five remaining arches
of the Roman aqueduct still standing near the
road to Angouleme. But the Christian antiquities
THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 127
are perhaps more abundant and more interesting
than in any other French town. They dated
from many centuries^ even in Jeanne's time. St.
Pierre, the ancient cathedral, built probably on
an earlier foundation by our Henry 11. , whose
rich facade shows a o:ood deal of sixteenth cen-
tury restoration (the date also of a tine brass-
work canopy over the high altar), but where
yon descend eight steps, marking eight centuries ;
and Montiersneuf (in whose alleyed grove are
ancient capitals for seats), where a Latin inscrip-
tion tells us that, in 1086, Geoffroy, Duke of
Aquitaine, this church's founder, died, and Pope
Urban consecrated the high altar in 1096, long
after its foundation.
Older still is St. Hilaire, dated lOiO ; and most
ancient of all is the baptistery of St. John, one
of the earliest Christian monuments in France,
dating at latest from the sixth or seventh cen-
tury. Some place it even in the fifth century,
and Joanne calls it of the fourth century ; and
it looks as early. The wall-paintings of the in-
terior are in the Byzantine style. It is about
fifteen feet or so below the surface : the semi-
domed stone roofs of the transepts just rise above
the soil. These roofs are almost on a level Avith
the eye, as one leans over the parapet of the
surrounding area, and looks down upon the half-
buried church. It is not that all worship was
performed in caves in the olden time, but that
the buildings have sunk. The antefixae of the
stone slabs of these roofs have heads upon them
128 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
and curved rays or scrolls, bearing the impress
of a very early period, remounting to the antique.
Its style, a bastard Roman, has little of the re-
generated excellence of the romanesque.
These things would have interested Jeanne,
the unlettered Christian, more than the Celtic
antiquity, the Pierre levee, at a short distance
out of the town, on the Limoges road, by way
of the Pont Neuf This, as a dolmen, is over-
rated ; but Rabelais (who was to be born at
Chinon later) says Pantagruel reared it, ' pour
le divertissement des escholiers de I'universite,'
who came here to carouse.
Out in this suburb one sees the men working
the inexhaustible white stone, and women, with-
high combs, or with caps high-crowned at the
back, and stuffed Avith pads shaped like a chair-
back, sweeping their houses and the road in front
— a dusty job — and wine-shops, with bushes hang-
ing out for a sign, and tubs full of the must of
ncAV wine staining the road with purple. Re-
crossing the clear but sedgy river Clain, shaded
by poplars, one gains a pyramidal view of the
town : Notre Dame and St. Radegonde spiring
the hill above an old Gothic gateway in the Rue Bar-
bate, near the rich and beautiful St. Pierre; and
deep in the valley St. Jean de Montiersneuf, where
you descend eleven steps, very much worn, into an
early romanesque interior, very fine, with baseless
columns, round but clustered. In one transept
is a grottoed chapel, with tall fir-trees growing
and fountains trickling. It is quite dark by the
THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 129
inner altar. Fir-trees stand also behind the high al-
tar, reminding one of the antique worship in groves.
One can read this church's history in its adorn-
ments. The chevet is very good old romanesque,
the clerestory windows of the apse are decorated
Gothic. The capitals are restored and ugly (egg and
dart), but there are some old reticulated and other
ancient capitals high in the deeply-recessed win-
dows. Fergusson dates this church 1066. Near
the entrance-door is the tomb of Count Guillaume
VIL, the pious founder. His effigy wears a
strawberry-leaved coronet. Burton, speaking of
the Mosque of the Genii, says, 'like all ancient
localities at Meccah, it is as much below as above
ground.' So are the old buildings at Poitiers.
Deeply interesting to Jeanne was the site of
the battle of Poitiers, fought by the Black Prince.
The site is fixed by Froissart at Maupertuis, five
miles north-west of the town. There was also a
great battle fought near Poitiers many centuries
before this, in 507, when Clovis defeated Alaric,
king of the Visigoths.
The place so teems with history under discovery's
plough that one is too. hard-worked at first. It
is like the sight of a vast art-collection that gives
one a fever of unrest which must be calmed
before one can begin to enjoy.
As one goes down to the water's edge, the place
reminds the oriental traveller more and more of
Jerusalem (until one comes to the water, where it
again vividly recalls Toledo), the arid rocks, parched
ground, and the peculiarly blue hue of the few
180 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
sharp shadows are all so southern. An old tower
and a further bridge form picturesque objects
as seen from the bridge one stands on.
The churches in the townAvere Jeanne's favourite
resort, and chiefest of all, the crowning glory of the
place, Notre Dame. A labyrinthine monument of
romanesque pell-mell, one calls it in one's first be-
wilderment. Even description must be confused.
An enchanting church outside, but, on descending
the steps (for of course one enters by steps down-
wards at Poitiers), and looking within, how coloured
and patterny ! It is said to be restored to its
primitive appearance. It is enough to put one's
eyes out : an aesthetic person would fall sick. There
is a fine carved-wood pulpit, which at first I took
for bronze, one is so blinded by the colours.
See that poor soul, with a long tale of sadness
on her withered features, crouching down, telling
her beads before the brocaded Madonna. What
a picturesque figure ! bringing her sorrows and
her patience there among those real flowers placed
by the altar. The church is always a consoler.
She is soothed by the rapidly-recited prayers of
the venerable priest, assisted by a deacon. The
incongruity of his very thick shoes with his crim-
son damask cope does not occur to her; such hyper-
criticisms are part of our overstrained delicacy
and heedfulness of outward apparel, and the spirit
of levity, which only discovers trifles to mock at
them — grains of sand or dust, to edge one's wit
upon. Better have no culture than the habitual
critical scofiing that savours of the comic papers.
THE TRTAL AT POITIERS. 131
which kills even the hope that is in us. Not for
the scoffer is the substance of that symbol of the
sculptured figure of a man (the Root of Jesse),
lying asleep or dead, and a tendrilled vine spring-
ing up behind him, with the legend, ^Aperiatur
terra et germinet salvatorcm,' there under the
altar of St. Anne.
The choir is Byzantine romanesque, in colour
and all. The round columns are baseless, but
solid and lofty. Fergusson says : ' The fa9ade of
Notre Dame de Poitiers is strictly Angiovine,
local in all its parts. Originally the one (!) win-
dow it possessed was circular, but in the fifteenth
century^ as may be seen from the mouldings then
introduced, it was cut down to its present form,
doubtless to make room for painted glass, which
at that age had superseded all other modes of
decoration ; whereas in the twelfth century, to
which the church belongs, external sculpture and
internal mural paintings were the prevailing
modes of architectural expression. Sculpture is
used in a profusion of which no example belong-
ing to a later date exists. There is a richness
and graphic power in the exuberant sculpture of
the early facades which we miss in after ages, and
of which no mere masonic excellence can ever
supply the place.'
This wealth of sculpture was like a rich library
to Jeanne, who knew no other reading than what the
churches supplied, and whose soul was continually
lifted up among the symbols of the Revelation,
typified in these things.
1:32 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
Notre Dame is especially curious and striking
to a modern, and it is peculiar in its perfectness,
for, as Fergusson further says : ' No churches of
the province have the characteristic corner towers,
nor do they retain their pedimented gable so per-
fect as at Notre Dame de Poitiers.' It was founded
We must not linger too long even at Notre
Dame ; there are so many other churches to be
seen at Poitiers, and at these we must only
glance, naming the most remarkable with the
succinctness of an official catalos^ue.
St. Radegonde presents a remarkable admixture
of age and restoration, reminding one unwittingly
of an aged face under a youthful wig. It is curi-
ously old in parts, though one enters by a florid
and comparatively modern doorway, beneath a
Byzantine tower. The nave of the church is
sunken below the surface, though not deep, but
beneath the romanesque choir is a very ancient
round-columned crypt, hewn in the rock, con-
taining the empty tomb of the saint. There are
votive inscriptions all around, some of them quaint
enough, as, ' Reconnaissance a Ste. Radegonde
pour la conversion de mon pere.'
St. Porchaire strikes one as elegantly strange,
with its round columns inside the entrance,
whence arches spring as from five tall palm-trees
into the rounded vaults. The windows are ogival,
but the portal is romanesque, and there is an old
Roman-looking arch beneath the whitewashed
THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 133
The Palais de Justice is the ancient palace of
the Counts of Poitou. The Salle des Pas Perdus
is a vast hall, with a timber forest in its roof, and
rich fire-places of the twelfth and fifteenth cen-
turies. The building is highly picturesque with-
in and without. Besides the Palais de Justice,
which is, next to the churches, most intimately
connected with Jeanne d'Arc, there are many
buildings of a later date Avhich add to the interest
of this most captivating town. Here is 21, Rue
du Marchc, which I take for the house Avhere
Francis Bacon occupied rooms as a law-student.
It is covered with renaissance ornaments, ox-
heads, &c. J. Masteau, ironmonger, has his shop
on the ground-floor. Two plaques are inscribed.
IN DNO CONFIDO
( HOC EST
the other \ refugion
( MEUM 1517
There is another very quaint old house in the Rue
Lebascle, behind the Musee, with a winding stair-
case tower outside. A curious old gateway below
this house bears a leo:end on a scutcheon %%%%(^%
|g^|l ^OlCi:, and on its little pointed battle-
ments, in the style of the Veronese renaissance,
%Qn^ Ig^Sl i3i|^(ii. gib., 1581 : a letter on each
But renaissance buildings have no connection
with Jeanne d'Arc, nor have private houses, for we
cannot identify the house of Maitre Rabateau, with
Avhose honourable wife she sojourned; so reluc-
tantly, where each street has an attraction, I leave
off sight-seeing. No, here is a street leading to a
Gothic spire, and the nearest wall has a round
134 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ABC.
archway built in it, each stone carved with a
winged animal, and a gateway below it, all of
which might have sheltered or known Jeanne
d'Arc ; and there are the old houses in the Rue de
la Poire Cuite ; and another old house, which
truly for its age might have been her abode, and
another beyond again which has equal claims,
none of which can be proved in the absence of
written documents. One tradition — of some
weight — seems to show that she did not stay with
Maitre Rabateau during the whole of the time she
was at Poitiers. We read in the 'Annals of
Aquitaine,' by Jean Bouchet, ^T have heard tell
in my youth, by the late Christofle du Peirat,
who then, in 1495, dwelt in Poitiers and near
my house, and who was nearly a hundred years
old, that in my said house there was once an
hostelry with the sign of the Rose, where Jeanne
d'Arc was lodged, aud that he saw her mount on
horseback, all in white armour, to go to Orleans.
He showed me a small stone at the corner of the
Rue St. Etienne, of which she took advantage to *
mount her horse.' This stone is preserved in the
museum at Poitiers.
The Ecole Chretienne, too, is a most interesting
specimen of domestic architecture in the decorated
Gothic style well worthy of an architect's study :
this alone would repay him for a visit. It is im-
possible to tear one's self away; not in Nuremberg nor
Augsburg is there so much to see as here in Poitiei's.
Refreshing after this exhausting mental pleasure
is it to ramble through the surroundings of the
THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 135
town, the woods and ravines of the river Clain ; to
alter our own poet's Avords —
' From where sweet Clanis wanders
Through corn and vines and flowers ;
Below where Poitiers lifts to heaven
Her diadem of towers.'
These environs are more pleasant than even the
Blossac they are so proud of, a clipped avenue of
limes, gritty and dusty, where the keen wind of
Poitiers blows piercing cold at times. Yet this
is full of charm, on calmer days, when one can sit
looking over the old trefoil-arched parapet of
this rampart promenade and enjoy the view over
the clear green Clain, and see the cavalry winding
up the opposite hill. It might be Jeanne's escort
convoying her to see the site of the Black Prince's
Vexed at the hindrance to her mission, Jeanne
did her best ; she took up the work that lay
nearest to her hand while waiting for the doctors
of the law to deliver judgment on the character
of her message. She wrote to the English leaders
now encamped before Orleans, or, rather, she dic-
tated the letter, according to the commandment
of her Voices, that it might be ready to send at
the moment she should be authorized to send it.
This letter bears date the 22nd of March. She
also continued her military exercises.
She had been confided to the guardianship of
one of the most honourable families in Poitiers,
and here, instead of calling her at first to them,
the council of the doctors came to examine her.
136 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
When she saw them enter the room, she sat
down on the end of a bench and asked them
what they wanted. They said they came to seek
her, because she had told the king that God had
sent her to him, and they showed her ' par belles
et donees raisons ' that she was not to be believed.
They remained over two hours, each speaking in
turn, and she answered them ' so that they were
greatly astonished that a simple shepherdess, a
young girl, could thus reply.' Her intellect
illumined everything it touched, while her inno-
cent childlike faith always believed in the nobility
and good faith of others.
' Jeanne,' said Guillaume Aymeri, ' you ask for
men-at-arms, and say it is God's pleasure that the
English should quit France and return to their
country. If that is so, no men-at-arms are needed,
for the will of God can alone discomfit them and
send them home.'
' In God's name/ returned Jeanne, ' the men-at-
arms will iight, and God will give the victory.'
Master Guillaume admitted it was well replied.
This was the key-note of her message, that
human means must be used, and God would
enlarge and bless them. I need give no more of
the examination, which lasted three weeks, and
was marked throughout on her side by a practical
good sense and piety which convinced even the
Dr. Seguin, said to have been * a very sour man,'
who at first declared he could not, for his part,
advise the king to confide men-at-arms to her
leading, and to place them in peril on her word
THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 137
alone. He required a sign of her mission. Then
came her reply which heads this chapter. It
is brother Seguin who has preserved the minutes
of the first day's examination, and ' sour man '
as he w^as, and wounded at the girlish vivacity
of some of her answers, he has honestly recorded
even those which were made at his expense by
the youthful Boeotian.
'Fine spectacle,' writes Alain Chartier, under
an impression still lively, ' to see her dispute, a
woman against men ; ignorant against the learn-
ed ; alone against so many adversaries!' The
beauty of the woman counted, perhaps, for some-
thing in his enthusiasm. So did Rienzi before
the doctors of the law maintain his mission to
restore a people to liberty ; but Rienzi was a
learned man, Jeanne was an illiterate girl. God's
power lay in her weakness.
' I know neither A nor B ; but I am sent by the
King of Heaven to raise the siege of Orleans, and to
lead the king to Rheims,to be crowned and anointed.'
They asked her of her visions, whether they
were constant. ' My council is there. One voice
stays with me always, another comes and goes,
and visits me often, and with the third both
deliberate,' Is this the natural fusion and con-
fusion of ideas in a luminous but uncultivated
intellect trying to burst the prison of ignorance ?
or is it, as our best English writer* on Jeanne
d'Arc has faintly suggested, a symbolical explana-
tion of conscience and prayer ?
* Miss Parr.
138 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
George Eliot says : ' I don't think any of the
strongest effects our natures are susceptible of
can ever be explained. We can neither detect
the process by which they are arrived at, nor the
mode in which they act upon us.'
The highest knowledge, though it may bring
to light the prophetic gift, does not confer it : it
oftener smothers it. Jeanne had a gift, and it
' JSTothing she does or seems
But smacks of something greater than herself.'
Jeanne came victoriously through these trials
of her mental attitude.
' There is more in the Lord's book than there is
in yours,' said she, with her natural vivacity; and
still the doctors admired her, and admitted that
she had answered throughout with as much prud-
ence as if she had been a fine scholar. Everyone
agreed in the fact of her goodness, humility, vir-
ginity, devotion, uprightness, and simplicity. The
matrons attested all this of her in their turn.
These things are better than book-learning.
Without going so far as the distinguished
journalist who says, 'Few things are worth know-
ing, and they can mostly be learnt in conversa-
tion,' many of us are beginning to feel that most
books are only substitutes for thought, which is
a better thing; or for conversation, our liveliest
pleasure. The founder of our religion is only re-
corded once as having written ; He lived, and we
are expressly told that we should followin His steps.
As the Times said lately of diplomatic inter-
THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 139
course, ' What we want is less clerical toil, and more
personal insight.' In the household it is the same.
Written orders are appealed to as having been
given, they remain to witness of the fact ; but,
if they are not carried out, where are we? Poli-
tics — a different thing from policy — still prevailed
over patriotism at the court.
The best evidence that could be obtained con-
curring in her favour, there was no hindrance to
her being used as a moral support to the king's
forces. More than this they did not expect of
her ; nor, indeed, did some of them wish for more.
Preparations were now being made to push the
war with vigour, and all was getting ready for
the time when the cash should be collected.
Thou2:h the church and law had nothino; to
say against the Maid, the money question was,
as usual, the motor of war, or else its impediment.
Jeanne had permission to go and stay awhile
with her friends, the Duke and Duchess of Alen-
con, at their chateau at St. Florent, near Saumur.
They took the liveliest interest in her, and
here for about ten days she saw the best side
of court life, while her army was equipped and
her standard embroidered and emblazoned from
her directions. This was of white linen, worked
with silken fleurs-de-lis. The blazon was the Lord
seated on the clouds of heaven, bearing the world
in his hand, and blessing a fleur-de-lis presented
on each side by an angel, with the inscription,
' Jliesus Maria.' On the reverse Avas the shield
of France borne by two angels. She had also a
140 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
pennon, or small banner, on which was painted
the Annunciation. This she mostly carried in
her own hand during battle. ^ Never,' she said,
' had she killed any person,' and she loved her
banner forty times better than her sword, even
the sword that she sent to fetch from behind
the altar at Ste. Katherine de Fierbois.
They formed her retinue, among whom were her
guides, Jean de Metz and Bertrand de Poulengy,
and, according to Wallon, her two young bro-
thers, Jean and Pierre, who had just joined her.
The Abbe Bourgaut says they joined her later at
Tours, which is more likely. A brave and tried
knight, Jean, Sire d'Aulon, ' le plus probe des
chevaliers a la cour,' was appointed her esquire.
Her page, Louis de Contes, was also brother-in-
law of Jean Beauharnais, burgess of Orleans, a
witness for Jeanne's rehabilitation. Prince Eu-
gene was descended from this family.
It must have been a gay and pleasant journey
to Jeanne, with growing reputation, and all thus
preparing for her great enterprise, to ride in the
midst of a bright company of friends, from
Chinon, where she had now returned in triumph,
to the charming residence of the Duke d'Alencon,
who, by his parole to the English, had been hither-
to debarred from battle. This young couple were
of special interest to Jeanne from their relation-
ship to the captive Duke of Orleans. Charles,
Due d'Orleans, married in 1406 Elisabeth, or
Isabelle de France, young widow of Richard II.
of England. She died in 1409, leaving a daugh-
THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 141
ter married in 1421 (jubente patre, says Astezan)
to Jean, Duke of Alencon. The Alencons had
DoAvn the narrow, paved way, since named
Rue Jeanne d'Arc, the joyous cavalcade swept
on ; across the bridges, and through the suburb
where the old women even now wear old-fashioned
caps with broad strings pinned coronet-wise round
the head — tall caps shaped like the head-dresses
on old sculptured tombs ; past the wine-shops
with their bushes ; perhaps these were mere booths
in those days, but there must always have been
wine-shops of some sort, as there must have been
much gaiety surrounding a pleasure-loving court,
though it was so nearly bankrupt. The third
bridge crosses a swamp merely, and the road to
the Loire lies through marshy meadows among
walnut-trees shading blue and red corn-flowers.
Chinon Castle from here looks low-seated, which
is a curious optical illusion.
At five kilometres from Chinon a road turns
off to Chateau Coudrai, which is six kilometres
further yet. The chateau is ancient, yet it is
impossible that Jeanne d'Arc should have been
sent so far off at the time when it was required to
cross-question her at every moment, and scrutinise
her actions severely.
The landscape hereabout resembles Devonshire,
only with walnuts instead of apple-trees. There
are some orchards, however, as well as apple-trees
in the standing corn, or in the abundant grass
for hay. In some places there are moss-grown
142 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UAUC.
vines beneath the apple-trees, the produce of all of
which speaks for the sun's power under the sky of
Touraine. The spreading limbs of the trees are
clothed with green velvety moss on the upper side.
In the meadows are willows and poplars, for it is a
well-watered country and spacious, easy for the
poor to live in. All seems faineant and easy-going
like Charles VII. himself; though perhaps the
rapid growth makes double work for somebody ;
for besides the two crops a year, which have to
be tilled and harvested, the weeds also grow so
quickly that it is hard to keep them under. A
brimstone butterfly looks like the departing spirit
of the primroses, as it flies along above the potato
Hale men in blouses and women with clear,
agate-coloured eyes and pretty, regular features
set in stifl^, deep-frilled country caps, salute the
passing traveller, and very dark-skinned gipsies
eye him curiously as he follows the Vienne, where
there are broad-sailed barges going up stream, and
a ferry hard at work with pleasure-folk at the point
where the Indre falls into the Vienne. At Candes
the united river joins the Loire, which now becomes
wonderfully islanded in its widened course, form-
ing quite a plexus of rivers, so entwined are they,
or braided together.
What a beautiful church this is at Candes, all
white like a bride : an exquisite surprise. A
slender column stands in the lofty, vaulted porch
of the north doorway, which faces the road, sup-
THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 143
porting cleeply-groined vaulting in the early
pointed style. The church is castellated in a
peculiar manner, giving the idea of a warrior in
robes of peace ; or conversely of Jeanne d'Arc, the
virofin, in her martial arrav. The battlements have
trefoiled cusps like those on Charles's clock- tower
at Chinon. Many churches of this date were
actually fortified. Bands of niched saints sur-
round two storeys of the north front. The lower
frieze has sculptures of angels, crowned heads,
foliage, and animals in a richly- woven intricacy
of design. The church is niched in the slope
of a steep hill — the quarry, in fact, whence its
material is extracted. The rounded aisle within
the niche and the zigzagged windows betoken a
much earlier date than do the richer decorations
of the front towards the road. The interior is
elegant, but chiefly remarkable for containing
the tomb of St. Martin, who died at Candes.
The apsidal choir is of the twelfth, and the nave
of the thirteenth century. Candes is on the
border line between Touraine and Anjou.
There are many traces of castles, half-hidden
among honeysuckles and wreaths of roses, here by
the Loire. The principal of these, the chateau
of Montsoreau, is of large extent, and bristling
with machicolations. At a round-ended market-
cross, a road turns off to Fontevrault. The Duke
of Alen9on's cavalcade would probably not have
turned aside to visit the abbey, with its tombs
of foreign kings, though doubtless he talked of
144 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
it to Jeanne. Although Fontevrault stands on a
hill, it is not visible from their road.*
They rode on, following the tufa cliffs, by the
caves of Souze near the brimming Loire. Cave
dwellino:s are hollowed all alono; here in the
building stone. Doubtless the poor people dwelt
in these quarries then much as they do now.
The houses look comfortable and shapely, the
fine stone being so easily hewn. They are set
in banks of iris and roses, wdth delicate wistaria
trailing along their eaves, and coloured vine-
shoots o:lowino: translucent above the walls. Their
only ventilation or draught is by their chimneys,
which sometimes crop up in the fields above :
these chimneys also serve as speaking tubes, to
communicate with the vine-dresser or labourer
up there. All this was new and curious to
Jeanne, being so unlike her own country.
Here the women's caps again alter in shape :
they are plain on the top, with the borders gof-
fred at the ears. These caps are survivals of the
middle-ages. When we see them carved in solid
stone on the tombs we marvel ; in lace and linen,
we understand them better. Another English
royal tomb is here. Queen Margaret of Anjou
died and was buried in the chateau of Dampierre
here close by the Loire. Poor Margaret ! a baby
* N.B. — Let all intending visitors to Fontevrault be warned that the
abbey is now used as a prison, one of the largest in France. It is
very difficult to obtain an order to visit the English royal tombs, and
no ladies are permitted to enter the precincts on any consideration.
A high wall prevents anyone seeing much of tlie abbey building.
The village or town is uninteresting.
THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 145
of a month old when Jeanne d'Arc passed by
Rnskin thus describes this part of the Loire :
' The district through which it here flows is for
the most part a low place, yet not altogether at
the level of the stream, but cut into steep banks
of chalk or gravel, thirty or forty feet high, run-
ning for miles at about an equal height above the
water. These banks are excavated by the peas-
antry, partly for houses, partly for cellars, so
economizing vineyard space above ; and thus a
kind of continuous village runs along the river-
side, composed half of caves, half of rude build-
ings, backed by the cliffs, propped against it,
therefore always leaning away from the river ;
mingled with overlappings of vineyard and trellis
from above, and little towers or summer-houses
for outlook, when the grapes are ripe, or for
gossip over the garden- wall.'
Here are the windmills of Saumur, and here is
Saumur itself, with its strong, square, high-seated
castle, resembling in shape the White Tower of Lon-
don, but with four rounded towers at the corners,
below which lies the town, with its churches
and picturesque Hotel de Ville. The Alen9on
party do not stop, but, in the sunshine dappled
with the western clouds, they ride on through
Saumur, by the Loire bank, and across the mea-
dows, then abounding in quail, by the mean-
dering river Thouet, (a good part of these meadows
are now drained for the cavalry school,) and up the
slope to the convent on the left, with its church
146 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
and dwelling-house, now all restored, or new, and
the parish church on the right. This is St.
Florent-les-Saumur, and it is far more reasonable
that we should find the site of the Duke of Alen-
9on's house here than that we should follow down
the Loire to the Abbey of St. Florent at In-
grande, beyond Angers, as some writers would
have us do. (Berriat St. Prix only marks St.
Florent-le-Vieil in his map.) It is three days' ride
further off; less certainly by boat going down
stream, but one would be indefinitely slowjin return-
ing. Jeanne d'Arc would hardly have consented
to go so far for pleasure. Here, at St. Florent-les-
Saumur, she was as near the scene of action
as at Chinon, or nearer. St. Florent-le-A^eil
Avould not have been called near Saumur, which
all old chroniclers expressly state. Writers fall
into these mistakes by trusting maps — which
ignore ruins and sites of former places — instead
of studying the ground, as Macaulay did for all
the chief j)oints in his history.
These convent buildings have all the appear-
ance of standing on the site of an earlier house,
the former abbey of St. Florent, Avhich dated from
the eleventh to the thirteenth century, and which
was destroyed in the Revolution or, as Wallon
asserts, between 1803 and 1833. The duke's house
was a hunting-seat, not a castle. Much of the
former interior is in good preservation, and the
fine staircase still remains. It was a dependence
of the ancient abbey, which had several extensive
secular buildings belonging to it. Of the abbey
THE TRIAL AT POITTERS. U7
church, which was called the ' Belle of Anjou/ only
the narthex and the crypt remain.
The parish church, on the right-hand side of
the road, has two aisles. An ancient, great,
round stoup for holy water, bigger than a baptis-
mal font, is noticeable on entering. The archi-
tecture is romanesque, and good early decorated
Gothic. The exterior is castellated in the fashion
prevalent about here. It has been carefully restored.
There is every reason to suppose that Jeanne
d'Arc worshipped in this church during her stay
with the Alen9ons.
The present convent, presumably on the site
of their house, lies high across the bridge beyond
the rope-walk. There is even now a ferry over
the Thouet, in the meadows below the bridge.
The country here and further up the hill is
well-peopled, and fertile with gardens and vine-
This was perhaps the happiest fortnight in
Jeanne's life. This season, too, of April is so
perfect in Touraine. There are masses of blue-
bells now, and foxgloves ready to come on. Truly
we ^ tourists, heaven preserve us,' flit like butter-
flies from joy to joy. We lounge here on these
mossy stone couches in the sunshine and enjoy
ourselves. What wealth there is for the people in
these apple-blossoms ; what joy is in their faces
and thankfulness in their hearts for this countless
bloom and the glad promise of the vines ; the
pear-trees all one foam, casting ofl^ their spray
in a white shower of petals all around, the lambs
M8 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
nipping the lower shoots of the young quick-set
hedges, the barley in the ear, the sounds of good
feeding in the world of pigs and fowls, and geese
and hens. How busy the sunshine is bringing
things to life everywhere, and how the people
smile and are glad ! They have the true wealth
of happiness, of usefulness, and interest in and
enjoyment of their possessions, and do not need
the money-wealth caused by sub-division of
labour, w^hich cramps life and destroys its healthi-
Jeanne too saw all this, and sympathized with
the joy of her fellow-peasants.
We may afford to linger on this glimpse of
pleasure and of cultivated enjoyment in the society
of persons of high rank in the laborious life of
our heroine, foreign as it may seem to the tenor
of her great purpose. One's surroundings are
part of oneself, so, in considering the life of the
Maid of Orleans, the ground she travelled over
became part of herself and of her education.
Though a strong character like Jeanne's developes
itself and cannot be cast in a mould, yet the
poetical, imaginative nature has a soft surface
very apt to receive impressions.
In education there are two planes which meet
each other, the nature of the being (within) and
the educing power (without). The fineness of the
nature is the most important factor of the result,
and Jeanne's was of excellent quality. When it
is of this fineness, it constitutes that genius
* which heaven and earth conspire to educate,'
THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 149
therefore the educing power we can apply does
not matter so much as in the ordinary cases.
Jeanne was a choice instrument in the hand of the
Lord of the whole earth.
Percival de Cagny, who belonged to the Duke
of Alen9on's household, was the first historian of
the Maid. He has given us many glimpses of the
pleasant social life of the time, showing us that
the warriors were not always sheathed in steel. The
duke promised the Maid, that so soon as he should
be liberated from his parole as prisoner of the
English, he would join her standard in the army.
The duchess, alarmed for his safety, Avould have
withheld him from making this promise.
' Fear nothing, madame,' said Jeanne d'Arc ; ' I
will restore him to you safe and sound, in as good
case as he is, or even better.'
' Le temps a laissie son manteau,
De vent, de froidure, et de pluye,
Et s'est vestu de broderie
De soleil raiant cler et beau,
II n'y a beste ne oiseau,
Qui en son jargon ne cliante ou crye,
Le temps a laissie son manteau.
' Riviere, fontaine, et ruisseau,
Portent en liuree jolye,
Gouttes d'argent d'orfevrerie,
Chascun s'abille de nouveau,
Le temps a laissie son manteau.'
Charles, Duke of Orleans (father of Louis XII).
The holiday was over. Jeanne must repair to
Blois, or, according to Wallon, to Tours. He
says the king delayed no longer, but sent her to
Tours about the 20th of April, where they formed
a complete military retinue for her, with two
heralds and an almoner. The force had not been
able to move earlier, as before the 21st of April
they could not give the soldiers ^ les arrhes de
I'entree en campagne.' Charles had only four
ecus left, says Marguerite de la Thouroude, wife
of the receiver-general, who was with the queen
of France at Bourges. The queen of Sicily, the
TEE LOIRE. 151
soul of the national party, had undertaken to
gather its strength at Blois, under distinguished
leaders, and Jeanne Avas to join them there. It
does not appear that she returned to Chinon from
Another ride, at a more energetic pace this
time, through Sauinur and across the double
bridge, which gives such a good view of the
castle. In the Quartier des Fonts, in the island,
at Saumur, there is a house built by King Rene,
called 'La Maison de la reine Cicile' (de Sicile).
It was highly ornamented then, for Rene was a
kino; of taste. It is now much defaced.
They rode across the fertile plain, watered by
many streamlets, on the opposite side of the
Loire ; past Langeais, with its turreted castle,
where, later on, the monarchy of France was
strengthened and firmly established by the mar-
riage of Charles VIII. with Anne of Brittany ;
through the fertile district of Chouze-sur-Loire,
just opposite Souze — here, what a feast of roses !
Who has not contemplated the awakening of Na-
ture in Touraine on the fair banks of Loire, has
never known ' the time of roses ?' Palaces of
foliage, temples of verdure rise as by enchant-
ment from the ground. So writes an exuberant
Frenchman, revelling in his country. Hoav the
sun smiled on the Maid, and wreathed her path
with flowers, as she swept on, joyous with her
bannered army ! Her energetic nature, too, was
effervescent with delight. Hope was gladdening
152 FOOTISTEPI^ OF JEANNE D'ARC.
They rode past the remarkable Pile of Cinq
Mars, that extraordinary monument, which has
perplexed all antiquarians by its seeming useless-
ness. It has been supposed to be Roman, Celtic,
cinerary, astronomical, monumental, a beacon, or
only built for the purpose of puzzling posterity.
It is a square brick tower, ninety-live feet high,
looking like a pinnacled chimney ; it is sixteen
feet wide in each face. On the south side the
pattern of the bricks forms twelve compartments.
It had formerly five pinnacles, each ten feet high ;
one of them has been thrown down. The pile is
perfectly solid, and has no openings of any kind.
M. Joanneau computes its age at two thousand
four hundred. years, but then eternity itself is a
trifle in the hands of a thorough-going antiquarian
or geologist. Near this is the castle of Cinq
Mars, with two round towers and a fine rampart ;
then comes Luynes, with its cave dwellings and
limestone cliffs, whence one can look across the
broad valley of the Loire and Cher, which run
parallel with each other for leagues, and the Ro-
man aqueduct which led from Luynes to Tours.
Yonder is Tours cathedral, a landmark in the
grey distance above those glowing fields where
ordinarily nothing is busy but the butterflies.
Tours was then humming with warlike prepara-
tions ; all were looking forward to excitement as
a change. The languor of the monarch had in-
fected all classes ; the martial energy of the Maid
She stayed about a week at Tours, happier with
THE LOIRE. 153
the bourgeois people, who were nearer her own
rank, than with the courtiers and nobles among
whom she had won her place, always excepting
her kind friends the Alen9ons. Lonely in her
high-wrought ascetic self-devotion, a very vestal
of purity, she was maidenly in all her ways. She
ever associated, spoke with, and was beloved by
women. There is no shadow, or rather no bright-
ness, of love-tale in her tragic story. She loved
children, and was often asked to be sponsor to
them, and she loved young girls. Her friendship
at Tours with the daughter of the painter, Hennes
Poluoir, who emblazoned her banner, is a pleasant
feature in her outwardly stern career. When
this young girl married, Jeanne asked, in a letter
addressed to the town-council of Tours, for a
hundred crowns to be given her for her trousseau,
as an act of friendship towards herself. This, and
her request that her native place might be exempt
from taxation, were the only favours Jeanne ever
asked in return for her services to the king. She
desired nothing for herself, ' fors bonnes amies et
During her stay in Tours, the king caused a
complete suit of armour to be made for her, and
he gave her horses for herself and her people ;
but in place of the sword he offered her she wrote
from Tours to Fierbois to the priests, asking if
they would allow her to have the sword marked
with five crosses in the church of St. Katherine ;
an armourer of Tours was sent to fetch it. It
was sent to her with two magnificent scabbards.
15-1 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
one of red velvet, the other of cloth of gold. She
caused a sheath to be made for it in strong
leather for every-day use.
At once she set to work to purify the camp
and reform the manners of the soldiers. It is a
fine example of the influence of womanhood that
La Hire, the reckless, who heeded no claims on
his veneration, and cared only for military glory,
who was accustomed to swear and take God's
name in vain all day, even he dared no longer
swear ' but by his baton ' before Jeanne d'Arc,
the village maiden.
Schiller puts her feeling into beautiful words
when he makes her say, ' Heaven is for France ;
angels whom thou seest not flght for our king ;
they are all decked with lilies. The standard of
our noble cause is white as is the lily; the pure
Virgin is its chaste symbol".' Tours was not then
the common-place capital of a flat surrounding
that it now is — the ' nicest place on the Conti-
nent' to the common-place Britannic mind,
though a sleepy residence for persons requiring
intellectual stimulus. The Revolution did what
most revolutions do, it ground everything down
to a dead level, devoid of all the picturesque
of memory ; only the dust of history remains, and
there is plenty of historical dust in Tours. But
Tours has its beauties of climate, of which no
revolutions can deprive it. There is a great
timber-stemmed magnolia-tree in the courtyard
of the Hotel de I'Univers telling of more rapid
wood-ripening than they make with us. One
THE LOIRE. 155
can sit in the Square de rArcheveche looking
towards the cathedral, whose doors are wide open,
comparing its tall renaissance towers with the
young straight palm-trees as they tower above the
sub-tropical plants, and the crowned heads of all the
trees. There is no inner door to the cathedral, so that
the nave of the church is completely exposed to
view, giving a grand effect that we miss in our nor-
thern churches ; and the altars are loaded with
real flowers ; no cambric artificialities, rag flowers.
But there are some churches in modernized
Tours of Jeanne d'Arc's time and older, ever so
much older. St. Julian's, built in 1224 upon the
remains of an earlier church, whose nave is eight
steps lower than the street ; another of those
churches which has half-buried itself with age.
Darwin tells us that this is the work of worms,
who industriously raise the ground outside with
their worm-casts. If Darwin's theory be true, then
churches also are a prey to the worms. Though
the heavier buildings being deepest buried,
makes it seem that worms have but little to do with
the matter. There is a pretty garden behind the
high altar. This church has a straight east end
and no chevet, only a passage under the large
east window. This is unusual in France, espe-
cially in this part of France. There is a very
lightly traceried triforium gallery. This church
has a fine romanesque tower and vestibule.
The neio'hbourhood of the Rue St. Martin
naturally contains the most precious relics of
ancient Tours. In front of the church of St.
156 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
Saturnin are many old, overhanging houses,
cross-barred and aboundmg in beams of carded
wood, and hard by one sees the fine old tower
called after Charlemagne, and another, its com-
panion, equally conspicuous ; the spring of former
arches with zmzR^ mouldino^s show that these once
belonged to the same magnificent building, the vast
basilica of Tours originating in the fourth cen-
tury. All the ground hereabout was once cov-
ered by this world-famous cathedral of St. Martin,
whose gorgeous shrine, though not his actual
tomb, is in an adjoining subterranean chapel.
In about a week the army was ordered ofi* to
Blois to form a junction with the main body of
the force and the convoy of provisions for the
revictualling of Orleans. The money had come
in at last ; if sparingly, it had come, and all was
activity and haste to be at Orleans before the
need of the besieged became too pressing.
Jeanne rode to Blois in company with the
Archbishop of Rheims and several nobles in
command of the army, which she reckoned at
not less than ten or twelve thousand men, when
united to the force which the Queen of Sicily
had collected with the convoy at Blois. She was
cheered by the arrival of her two young brothers,
who had lately joined her standard.
Out again into the fields striped with golden but-
tercups in bands of green and yelloAV. The hill-slopes
are thickly studded with villages and dwellings cut
in the chalky tufa, set among sweet buds and shiver-
ing poplar branches and young sunny leaves of
THE LOIRE. 157
acacia, all soft, filmy, and tender like French land-
scape-painting. The vale lies deep in rushes and
water, and white water-flowers, and tender shadows,
mysterious and soft as love, bounded by glaucous-
blue wheatfields and hazy distances all tremulous in
the warm, moist atmosphere of latest April before
it blushes into May, their hues melting into each
other with no harshness, scarcely an outline, aerial-
ly soft as the pale, pink, feathery -flowered tamarisk,
falling like a fountain, which veils the shimmer-
ing sunshine on the Loire, leaving only lesser suns
in the yellow flowers de luce in the pools, gleam-
ing like patines of bright gold. There is nothing
out of harmony in this sweet country • even now
in this age of sin and sensuality I see a man
with a rose in his mouth — instead of a cigar.
We seldom see the tamarisk in flower in
England. In October of 1884, after a hot sum-
mer, it was admired and marvelled at in Corn-
wall, where no one remembered having seen it
flower before. I had seen it flowering profusely
in Touraine and Berri in early May of the same
year. The orientals call the dove the ' Bird of
the Tamarisk,' perhaps because both are so soft
to touch and so tender in hue ; one can hardly
call it colour, or only dove-colour. An Arabian
poet speaks of a maiden's form ' waving like the
tamarisk when the soft wind blows from the hills
And all this fair land was to be saved ! Jeanne
d'Arc must have admired it, even if, like Jeanie
Deans, she only thought it was ^ braw feeding for
158 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC,
the COWS.' To Jeanne it was more than a rich
picture, it was a grand reality, filling her heart
with praise and thanksgiving, for she was ap-
pointed to win back this land for her own people
and make it smile again. She too had the j)eas-
ant's habitual faith and trust in the outpouring
hand of the Creator that He will give the bless-
ino; which follows faith. This is not our cold
idea of self-help, which only trusts our own right
hand; so that we remain shorn of joy because we
look to create for ourselves a hard and bare subsist-
ence, with no overflowing, including only what we
make, not what God gives besides. Bread perhaps,
for we have earned it, but little wine and — no roses.
How beautiful is life when young, yet per-
fect in its strength ! How beautiful too is
Nature, clad in the intense young green of a
spring morning ! Nature never grows old. She
blooms now in our late century as fair as ever ;
as we can see in the countless blossom of these
nurseries of young trees, kept here to make
avenues for the high-roads. The French have
always liked to trim their straight roads v/itli
green fringe and flowers.
The land was not devastated by the army's
passage, this garden of France in its glad time
of rosy promise. The armies of those days spared
the peasants' toil, not for the peasant's sake truly,
but for their own subsistence, and also because
the soldiers themselves became peasants again
when the battle was over. Jeanne was hailed
by the common people as a deliverer. Everything
THE LOIRE. 159
was hopeful, everyone was young, in feeling at
least, and Jeanne's heart was unchilled, unblighted.
That 'fulness and luxuriance of life which has
in it something of divine ' was in her followers,
but in herself this was intensified by a spiritual
conviction of having her powers especially called
forth by the Creator for His own use.
The army crossed the bridge at Tours, and
kept to the left bank of the Loire, the southern
side ; as in the season of floods there was only
a scrambling path across the hills between Tours and
Frilliere, and the southern road was well defended
by the castle of Amboise, which commands it both
ways from Tours to Blois. The Loire was then
more of a torrent flood than now, because of the
vast and numerous forests that gathered the rain.
The north side is especially liable to inundations
of the river, which often devastate the land for
miles. There has existed from Carlovino-ian times
the great embankment of the Loire on the right
bank, from Blois to Angers, one hundred miles ;
but this was not always available as a road. The
most important works of these dykes were made
under Henry IL, King of England and Count of
Anjou. But in times of poverty and disturb-
ance, public works of utility are left to loss, and
the embankment was out of repair. Vernon
is built up on the hill, and so are many of the
villages, which now look like one bright, con-
tinuous suburb of Tours, in order to escape the
floods. A break of a few inches in the soft clykc
of light gravel is enough to make the river effect
160 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC,
an entrance ; a molehill giving way when the
river is swollen, in rushes the flood, melting
the land before it ; and on the first rush of the
torrent both men and cattle make swiftly for the
hills, where many people keep a dwelling on
purpose to take refuge in.
But it is a quickly recuperating country, the
sun soon sets to rights the mischief of the floods,
which retiring, leave a fresh deposit of rich soil
upon the fields, and the vineyards are seldom
much damaged by their bath ; the acacias and
glorious judas-trees, now a mass of pink flowers,
are firmly rooted, the land is soon as glowing and
beautiful as ever. The women, clad now-a-da5^s
in blue cotton and worked Touraine caps with
narrow frills, knit while they lead down their cows
and tether them to within an inch, it seems, of
the standing corn, and the black and white cattle
stand breast-deep in the crimson clover. Men
quafl* the sparkling wine of Vouvray, which, as
it will not travel, the inhabitants keep for them-
selves, and they are gladdened with Nature's
bounties even through her chastisements.
The people here are gay and happy, though
their country is less neat and trim than Nor-
mandy and the northern provinces, which are
an agricultural pleasure-ground. Up the country
in many parts, in La Brie for instance, people
are stern like their hard climate, here they are
gay and sparkling, like their wine. Perhaps vif
too, like their Loire, whose devastating fury can-
not be calculated on nor controlled.
THE LOIRE. 161
Fifteen miles from Tours is Amboise, another of
the islanded Loire towns, with double bridge, whose
castle is its his^h-seated citadel. Amboise, where
nearly a century later Leonardo da Vinci was to live
and die : 1452 — 1519 are the dates graven on his
monument in the castle garden. A risky-look-
ing place is this low-lying island, barely secure
from floods ; a charming place this lofty castle,
with its towers of many diiferent heights all
intermingled with foliage of remarkable variety,
and valerian and pinks tufting the outer walls ;
its gardens an ordered labyrinth of beauty and
delight, its varied views each one lovelier than
the last, culminating in a rapturous scene w^hich
includes the length of the winding Loire, with
its bridges and wooded islands, and a nearer
scene of arches, gardens, gurgoyles, and the
delicate white miniature chapel of St. Hubert,
florid to profusion with its minutely fondled
sculptures, wrought like silversmiths' Avork, and
its panel in high relief, above the chapel door,
of St. Hubert discovering the miraculous stag
with the cross between its antlers.
The modern chateau itself is insignificant ; but
the old round towers seem part of the natural
rock they rest upon, and some of these date from
Roman timies. Amboise is one of the choicest
scenes in Europe as a mingling of all the beauties
of mediaeval romance. In its ancient castle, its
scenery and gardens. Art has perfected Nature.
No pen or pencil save Turner's could do justice
to this delicious place. He has given us the
162 ' FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC,
scene, yet even he cannot revive for us the
forms that haunt this place, nor give back to
the world their spirit. The armoured figures on
their tapestries and canvas mock us with their
' scorn of our dull, uninspired, snail-paced lives,'
that we think so energetic, but which are only so
Leaving Touraine and entering Le Blesois, the
cavalcade rode on through the still exquisite valley
between the densely-wooded slopes on both sides
of the Loire, crossing the bridge and arriving at
Blois in time to hear the nightingale's song before
taking refuge within its solid old Avails. After
their day's ride of thirty -five miles, they were just
half-way to Orleans, their goal.
Blois had not then its present gardened ap-
pearance, nor was its castle then bristling with
porcupines and carved with the badges of Anne
of Brittany and the salamanders of Francis I., for
the present castle on the western hill was not then
built. But the town's situation was always fine as
any on the Loire, with its cloven hill and amphi-
theatral distribution of the ground, which is
made available by terraces and streets of stairs.
The cathedral, which now occupies the eastern
height above the river, is neither old nor grand.
The bishop's palace is splendidly situated, with
its kitchen gardens among the ancient walls
and terraces of the former castle, which received
Jeanne and her companions. The prospect from
the dense chestnut promenade is delightful, em-
bracing wide sweeps of the Loire and its beau-
THE LOIRE. 163
tiful rich vale. It is delightful, too, to sit in
the more open lime-tree avenue listening to the
evensong of birds. '
The western hill holds the chief attractions for
the traveller. Here is the piled castle of Louis
XII. and Francis I. This solid fortress of roughly
herring-boned masonry is softened to the eye by
the oleanders growing near the huge walls, cliffs
of masonry one might call them, and so one
might the walls of the inner dwelling of the
castle, a tremendous building with its rounded
bastions. It is a relief to get inside the court-
yard, where the castle looks less threatening and
more habitable. This inner front is highly de-
corative, Avith its statue all gilt and coloured of
the king on horseback, and its carvings of the
porcupine of Louis the Well-beloved and the
ermines of Anne of Brittany.
The bridge of Blois is one of those high-raised
structures of uneven arches built to suit the
erratic current of the shifting Loire, meeting at
an obtuse angle in the centre like that of Gien.
This bridge, which was built in the time of Louis
XV., is surmounted by an obelisk in the centre.
The view of Blois is fine seen from the willowed
waters of the Loire.
The grand old church of St. Nicolas, half-way
down the western hill beneath the castle, is far
more interesting than the renaissance cathedral.
It has a small cupola and fine romanesque
columns. This church, however, has little to
do with Jeanne d'Arc, on her first visit to
164 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
Blois. because she would not have been al-
lowed time to wander across to this western hill,
for there was a council to be held and much to
set in order. She had, besides, to write to the
English, summoning them to surrender, marking
thus the peaceful character of her mission, which,
as her own words tell us, was ' one of peace to
men of goodwill.' Heralds were the great ord-
nance of those days, so Bacon says, and the Maid
especially wished to employ them thus, even though
this wish might be misinterpreted by friend and
foe. So she sent her letter, written at Poitiers
on the 22nd of March, summoning the English
leader to surrender Orleans to the Maid, who
had been sent by God. It commenced thus : —
' Duke of Bethfort, the Maid prays and requires
of you that you should not destroy yourself.' If
he agrees to surrender the place, she suggests
that together they might do great deeds for
Christendom, which is interpreted to mean a
crusade against the Turks. Quicherat gives
this and others of Jeanne's letters in full in
his work. Perhaps the army thought it was her
failino^ courao-e which caused her to insist on send-
ing heralds to the enemy to beg them peacefully
to cede their conquests. Her message was received
with insult and derision.
The time has come ; the blow has to be struck.
The Maid has to witness for the God who sent
her. Away with woman's natural fears.
The work and council over, she goes to pray
in the church and nerve herself for battle, for
THE LOIRE. 165
to-inorrow is to begin the great adventure of
her life, for which she has been preparing for
years ; yet a new experience and trial of her
We may presume there was a fine cathedral
here on the present site close by the former
castle, for at Blois, Astezan, the Duke of Or-
leans' secretary, a contemporary of Jeanne's,
admired an organ, the largest he had ever
seen, having, so they said, fourteen hundred
metal pipes (d'etain), of which some were so
large that a man could pass through them.
Such an organ could never have been built for
the church of St. Nicolas. Another huger pipe
and more ancient marvel is still to be found in
Blois ; this is a subterranean aqueduct, called
the Arou, and by the common people the Pont
de Cesar, which traverses the town from end
to end. It is so wide and so lofty that several
persons can walk in it abreast. It is supposed
to have been pierced through the solid rock by
THE MAID OF ORLEANS.
' En nom Dieu, le conseil de Messire est plus sur et plus sage que
le votre. Vous m'avez cuide decevoir, et vous etes de^us vous-memes,
car je vous amene le meilleur secours que eut oiicques chevalier, ville
ou cite.' (' In God's name, the counsel of our Lord is more sure and
more wise than your own. You have intended to deceive me, and
you are deceived yourselves, for I bring you the best succour that
any knight, town or city, ever had.')
Jeanne d^Arc to the Bastard of Orleans.
The Maid wished to march directly upon Orleans
by the right bank of the Loire, on which the
town is built ; but her chiefs, fearing the English
strongholds, insisted upon taking the left bank,
the side of La Sologne, leaving the river between
their march and the principal strength of the
enemy. Jeanne affirmed that the English would
allow them to pass without attacking the convoy;
a statement which the leaders could hardly be
expected to act upon. They corresponded with
Dunois, who commanded in Orleans itself, about
the most prudent line of march, and, considering
the south side of the river the least hazardous,
they resolved upon this, and also upon concealing
their resolution from Jeanne till the last moment.
THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 167
They deceived her, accordingly, as to the true
position of Orleans.
This was not easy, for of course she had in-
quired its situation before this at Gien and else-
where, and had thought about it. She was not
a person to decline informing herself of facts ad-
visable for her to know. Facts of this kind never
clash with one's duty to God. But they did
deceive her. A truthful nature does not readily
suspect others of untruth, and to her ignorance
the word of a knight or noble was sufficient to
make her believe she had apprehended the fact
wrongly. It was one of the many lessons they
gave her in unfaith -, they did not corrupt her,
but she learned contempt of their ways.
The convoy crossed the bridge at Blois on
Thursday, the 28th April. The army followed the
convoy for its defence. Jean Chartier speaks of
the ' grant force de buefz, mo u tons, vaches, pour-
cheaulx,' &c., that were being driven on to victual
Orleans. Jeanne led the march, the priests fol-
lowed with the troops singing ' Veni Creator
The road by the river skirts the forest-land on
the right for miles, part of what is now the beau-
tiful oak forest of Boulogne, which breaks insen-
sibly into the Pare de Chambord, passing the fine
Chateau de Chambord, the Versailles of Touraine,
which at a distance looks like an ornamental
forest of chimneys, roofs, and dormer gables, with
a tall stone lily rising proudly in the centre.
The convoy marched safely along the level
168 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
road, defended by the river on one side and by
detachments of the army in front and rear, while
strong bodies of troops scoured the forest roads
to guard the slow-moving caravan from ambush
and marauders, the Cosson river being too small
for a defence of the convoy on this side.
The forest now-a-days is one of those radiated
labyrinths that all woodland pleasure-grounds be-
come in France, focussed here and there by sign-
posts, with dozens of names sticking out from them
like wheel-spokes, not one of which names does a
stranger know, and rays of straight road run
from these round-points like the gathering of
avenues at the Arc de I'Etoile in Paris. ' II n'y
a pas a s'y tromper,' as everybody says, provided
one knows the way, that is all that is necessary,
for the names one is in search of, such as Cham-
bord or St. Die, are not posted up, being too well
knoAvn to the natives to need it. The cuckoo calls
the echo repeatedly, women drive their tinkling
herds through the forest glades, the song of birds
is continuous, the paths are agreeably shaded, yet
enlivened by numerous butterflies, the scent of
pine-trees is delicious, the breeze refreshing, so
that a walk here seems the most delightful of
travelling when one hears it is only six kilometres
One prolongs the pleasure by seeking parts of
the forest bearing the wild aspect they had in
1428. It is so heaven-bright above, yet the forest
is so dim in ^ embalmed darkness,' that one goes
on gleefully until one comes to a second sign -post
THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 160
with seven rays, and names unknown outside the
forest. The verbal direction had been, ^ Take the
road to the left, il n'y a pas a s'y tromper.' But
was this left at the first or second sign -post ? It
w^as the second to us coming from Mont, but was it
so to the speakers coming from ^ Marie Leczinska,'
the other way ? The roads are like a wheel,
and there are three to the left ; now^ which, if
any, is most to the left ? As in French politics,
here we have gauche^ centre gauche^ and extreme
gauche. The problem serves as a reason for sitting
down to rest and enjoying the sense of bliss that
a snatched pleasure in fine weather gives. A
man with a game-bag passes. One might have
waited for him the whole day. It was a chance
if anyone might pass. We are to go straight on,
and at the next sign-post turn ^ a votre gauche.'
The man did not remember the name on the
label, but it would be a gauche, and he explained
the particular angle. It was marked six kilometres
to Chambord ! Had the beauty of the glades really
beguiled us so far out of our way?
Here goes for another sign-post. Still six kilo-
metres to Chambord ! On again. 'Yes, madame,
it is the right road — il n'y a pas a s'y tromper.
It is six kilometres to Chambord.' This was cer-
tainly an enchanted forest ; another sign-post
marked Chambord, six kilometres ! Such reiter-
ations may become monotonous at the close of a
day, but a true walker never grows tired before
four or five o'clock, and now only one was
sounding from the distant castle clock. There
170 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
would be plenty of time to admire the views from
the roofs and the central lantern with the great
Bourbon lily, to go up and down the great
double staircase of carved white stone, whose
involved and interlacing spiral is such a puzzle
to visitors, and to be dragged through the laby-
rinth of upholstery, the four hundred and forty
rooms that have weighed upon one's spirit since
first hearing of them. In one of these rooms a
great picture in needlework represents the vow
of Louis Treize. On the right of the king is
Jeanne d'Arc bearing her standard, on the left
St. Michael presenting the banner of the Sacred
Heart. This was worked in 1878 in cross-stitch
by ladies, like the rest of the hangings of the
room on which the deeds and faiths of the
Bourbons are depicted on a ground of royal
blue sprinkled with golden lilies.
One re-emerges on the high-road by the Loire
near the tall church of St. Die, a fishing village
whence there is a delightful double ferry, between
the broad detritus banks, across to Suevres. The
tepid, sunshot Loire here teems with fish, small
fish in shoals, and some big ones ; they cannot
hide themselves, the water runs so clear. It is
hot crossing the low cornlands by the Loire.
Was it here that Jeanne first suspected that
she had been deceived as to the side of the river
on which Orleans was placed ? The deception
vexed her greatly, because the leaders of the
force were acting contrary to the counsel which
she believed came to her from heaven. It was
THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 171
too late now to re-cross by the bridge at Blois,
and ferries such as this at St. Die were unavail-
able for an army. Beaugency was a stronghold
of the English, and, until they should reach
Orleans, there was no other bridge save the
strongly-fortified one at Meung, which was also
in the hands of the English. Perhaps she her-
self tried the passage at this spot, to retrieve
the unfortunate step that had been taken. This
is very likely, as there has always been a fishing
village here, which implies many boats. They
have now quite a fleet of them, with tall narrow
sails, and the men of St. Die are all more or less
fishermen and sailors.
The river looks so shallow here, besides, that it
seems as if almost all the passage might have
been made bv wadino;. Did she as leader, and the
^ CD I
most venturesome of the army, reconnoitre the
passage and the road by Suevres beyond ? Being
on horseback, she rode in advance of the convoy
with its mules and drovers on foot, and waggons
which moved still more slowly, and so she had
ample time to look about her. It is always the
slowest animals which determine the pace of a
caravan. I ponder over Jeanne and her difficul-
ties with the stubborn team she had now to
drive, more violent in their temper than her cattle
of former time, while sitting on a bridge over
the mill-stream that lies between the Loire and
Suevres. A herd of cows have come down to
drink and wade ; the dog that guards them is
enjoying himself in the stream where it is shaded
172 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
by the alders. Here waddles down a convoy of
ducklings. The stream is swarming in fish, perch
and some good sizeable trout. Yes, thick with
fish like gold-fish in a crowded globe. Here
comes another fleet of bigger ducks, all dipping
and gobbling. What a happy life it looks !
Jeanne, does it remind you of your own loved
native rivers ? What are these large black flies,
or moths, fluttering over the water, with blueish
bodies? — or are they lustrous blue wings that
glance so in the sunlight ? I cannot tell. There
are myriads of these flies. These three poor
little squeaking ducks have not yet found their
brethren ; here they come squeaking back again.
One might idle away time for ever toying with
these country objects. Up and away again,
unless we can get into the little romanesque
There is another larger church at Suevres, but
this one interests me most. Jeanne d'Arc may
have found here the sustaining power she needed.
It was, unconsciously, a lesson to the army that
Jeanne had not the miraculous power they cre-
dited her with, founded on some coincidences of
her words with after occurrences at Chinon and
elsewhere. Had she immediate revelation she
would have known which side of the river Or-
leans was on, and they could not have deceived
her. Human sense and knowledge were suffi-
cient for this purpose ; these are never stultified
by unnecessary revelation. Jeanne was not a
very gullible person. She had the keen wit and
THE MAID OL ORLEANS. 173
business capacity of her nation, and their clear
expression in words ; as Voltaire says, ' Ce qui
n'est pas clair n'est pas Fran9ais,' but she had
also the boundless capacity for belief in the
hio^hest, which is characteristic of p:reat souls
and warm hearts. It was only by repeated ex-
perience that she learned to suspect treachery in
the rulers of her people.
Yet why did the river flow this way, and why
were they marching against the sun, if they
were really on the side of La Beauce, as her
leaders had told her? It must have been difficult
to choke back conviction.
The convoy has had time to come up. Let
us all move forward upon Orleans.
They could not make the thirty-five and a half
miles in one day encumbered by their convoy. Jol-
lois says Jeanne's army arrived the third day be-
fore Orleans; but this includes a detour, and they
arrived early on the third morning. Wallon and
others say she arrived on the 29th of April, the
day after leaving Blois. The truth lies midway,
perhaps ; the later portion of the convoy arriving
after the vanguard. They hastened past Beau-
gency, with its spire and tall massive tower of
Julius Caesar, all splendid Avith the setting sun.
This huge, square toAver is one hundred and
fifteen feet high, and very broad. It is really
of the tenth or eleventh century. Look at Tur-
ner's view of it in the ' Rivers of France,' and
see what a covetable place Beaugency was; for
it is not materially altered, and Jeanne saAV the
174 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
town across the river from about the point where
Turner drew it.
A road diverges near St. Laurent des Faux
from the main road to Orleans towards the bridge
of Beaugency, an old-fashioned structure of
thirty-nine arches, and rejoins the main road
near Lailly, about four miles further on. Doubt-
less Jeanne would have taken this detour to
guard her convoy against the probability of a
sortie from the English garrison at Beaugency.
See how its tall donjon dominates the fruit and
corn land of La Beauce. Jeanne knew within
herself that this strong place would soon be in
her hands, for this was part of the promise ; but
so far none else fully believed in her. She had
given no sign, or none that could be universally
recognised as such, though there were many
floating rumours of her marvellous gift of pro-
phecy. Yet some steps were gained, for she was
nominally leader of an army : it is even said
that Baudricourt, castellan of Vaucouleurs, also
marched to Orleans with Jeanne.
At a safe distance from the garrison of Beau-
gency and the red castle of Meung, the army
encamped in the open field, and were again early
afoot. Jeanne was the first to be up, though
tired and ill with having rested ' for the first
time,' so Martin says, 'in all her armour upon
the hard ground' (sur la dure). Others say she
slept fully armed upon the ground during her
journey from Vaucouleurs. [Axiom : When in
THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 175
doubt, follow Quicherat.] Again the truth lies
midway, in an average of both statements. He
says that in riding from Vaucouleurs, she wore
and slept in the plain military dress of the time,
now she was equipped in a suit of armour.
On again with morning light, leaving the
bridge of Meung well to the left, they passed
close by the little town of Clery, not yet boast-
ing its square and massive church of Notre Dame,
so famous in the succeeding reign ; then again
forgotten till revived by Walter Scott. The
church of Clery had been destroyed by Salisbury
last year, 1428. In the upper part of a modern-
painted window in the present church of Notre
Dame de Clery Jeanne d'Arc is represented lead-
ing; the attack on the brido^e of Meuno^.
Orleans is nine miles further yet. The way is
pleasant and easy by the borders of the small
river that flows parallel with the Loire for miles,
as so many named and unnamed rivers do. The
scenery is monotonous, which few people cared
for at that time, any more than American settlers
do now. They looked at the foreground, not at
the distance. The Loire is invisible here until
you come close upon its borders, but the western
towers and slender central spire of Orleans, how
near they look from this plain !
Now the decorations of the cathedral can be
traced, and another tall church behind it, and
other towers beyond the bridge ; and now one
makes out the flying buttresses of the cathedral,
176 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
soaring over a large city of roofs and chimneys,
a heart led up to by arteries of road. This plain
is now a populous suburb.
The army did not follow the present high-road
all the way to Orleans bridge, but branched off
to the right about two miles beyond Clery, and
gained Olivet (now famous for its cream cheeses),
on the Roman road from Yierzon, not far from the
source of the Loiret. This was just behind the
English bastilles of the left bank. Then Jeanne
knew for certain that her leaders had played upon
her ignorance, and treated her as a child. She
was indeed before Orleans, but divided from it
by the Loire. At this moment of excitement
the deception used towards her was too much.
She was deeply angered ; she felt but too keenly
how the belief which possessed her seemed like
madness to others. It was impossible to force
the bridge, though Jeanne would willingly have
prepared the way by attacking the most westerly
and isolated tower of St. Jean le Blanc ; but this
project was overruled, and the convoy moved five
miles further eastward towards LTle aux Bour-
dons, beyond Checy, where they found it safer to
embark the provisions and send them down
again in boats to the eastern and least strongly
defended side of Orleans. Boats could only be
procured from Orleans itself, and it was a matter
of great difficulty to send them up stream with
a contrary wind and under the enemy's fire.
' Are you the Bastard of Orleans T said Jeanne,
when Dunois himself arrived from Orleans to
THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 177
consult with the rest upon the means of intro-
ducing the provisions into the town.
' Yes, and I am rejoiced at your arrival.'
•Was it you who gave counsel that I should
come by this side of the river, and not directly
where lie Talbot and the English?'
Dunois admitted that he and the most experi-
enced leaders had advised this as safest and
^En nom Dieu !' cried Jeanne. 'The council
of Messire ' (God) ' is safer and wiser than yours.
You thought to deceive me, and are yourselves
deceived, for I bring you the best succour that
ever knight, town, or city had : the help of the
King of heaven. Who, at the prayer of St. Louis
and Charlemagne, has had pity on the town of
Orleans, and would not suffer His enemies to hold
the body of the Duke of Orleans and his town.'
As she spoke, the wind changed suddenly, and
the boats were enabled to leave Orleans. They
placed the corn and other provisions on board, and
the ' beeves,' for Lent at Orleans had been perforce
prolonged till now, and the flotilla re- descended
the river and unloaded at the eastern gate. But
they had not means suflicient to bring the army
itself into the city, for the Loire was now too
high and rapid to construct a bridge of boats here
in the very face of the English. There was no
other passage than the bridge of Blois, and ac-
cordingly the army had no choice but to return
to Blois and come back again by the road Jeanne
178 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
Dunois besouglit Jeanne herself to enter Or-
leans that night with him to cheer the towns-
people, who so longed for her presence ; but she
was fearful that the captains might again betray
her, and possibly not re-appear with the army,
and she had promised to deliver Orleans, and not
only to revictual it. The captains gave her their
solemn promise to return, and she lent them her
banner, under which they had been encouraged
to enter on the campaign, with Pasquerel, her
almoner, to carry it, and the priests who led their
devotions. Then Jeanne, with Dunois, La Hire,
and two hundred lances, descended the river by
the right bank, having previously crossed over
in the provision boats, and defended the convoy
in the boats from an attack on that side.
Saint Loup is situated on the right bank of the
Loire, above Orleans. To understand what fol-
lows, I must explain that the convoy having
stopped on the left bank, opposite St. Loup, at a
point called Port St. Loup, they went to fetch
boats from Orleans to cross the river, o^oinc: round
a large island that divides it at this place, and
entering the town by the road leading to the
Porte de Bourgogne.
On this eastern side the English had only the
bastille of St. Loup, and, in order that they might
not fall upon the provisions, the townspeople
assailed this fort with the courage and success of
desperation ; the boats, thanks to this timely diver-
sion, were safely unloaded, and Jeanne and her
companions stayed near at hand in the fields by
THE MAID OF ORLEANS, 179
Checy till this was accomplished. She selected
this point, Checy, in order to guard the Roman
road, which was the only way a sortie could have
been made by the English to attack the convoy;
after which she rested some hours in the house of
Gui de Cailly, a gentleman of RuUy, at some dis-
tance to the north-east of Checy, before entering
At eight o'clock in the evening of the same
day, Friday, 29th of April, she entered Orleans,
having put on the Duke of Orleans' colours,
whose city she had come to deliver : the huque,
a sort of blouse of dark-green cloth, and the levite,
a lonof flowinof-sleeved mantle of fine crimson
Brussels cloth, lined with white satin, which she
wore over her armour. Mounted on a milk-white
horse, preceded by her own banner, and having
on her left Dunois, richly accoutred, she headed
a procession of the nobles and notables, and made
by torchlight a triumphal entry into the town,
accompanied by her brothers and her two guides
from Lorraine. She was like moonlight to im-
prisoned eyes. Her prestige was worth her whole
army to Dunois.
We are well acquainted with this illustrious
man. It suffices here to remember that he was
only created Count of Dunois on the 29th of July
of this same year, 1429. Until then he had no
other name than that of Bastard of Orleans —
Bastardus Aurelianensis. ' Birth is the boast of
the faineant.' Jeanne and Dunois had to make
their own name, and where shall we find a name
180 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
more nobly won than tbat of the Maid of Orleans
— more valiantly than that of the elder Dunois ?
He was now twenty-seven, having been born in
1402, the same year as Charles VII.
The people welcomed Jeanne d'Arc as an angel
of God, and followed her into the cathedral of St.
Croix, there to return thanks to Almighty God,
and thence to the house of Jacques Bouchier, the
Duke of Orleans' treasurer, where she would be
under the protection of his excellent wife. This was
close to the Porte Renard, which no longer exists,
though a remaining portion of the house is still cher-
ished in Jeanne's name. Here she was sheltered on
that first night of her arrival from a violent storm
of thunder and lightning, which would have been
terrific had it assailed her on the previous night
in the open fields. There is little in the appear-
ance of the house. No. 32, Rue clu Tabourg, to
remind the visitor of Jeanne d'Arc, nor does the
present cathedral resemble the one wherein Jeanne
worshipped Him who had brought her so far.
Fergusson says, ^ Orleans is the only first-class
Gothic cathedral erected in Europe since the
middle ages,' the original church having been
destroyed by the Calvinists. The present cathe-
dral was commenced in 1601 by Henri IV.
The cathedral is handsome and purely flam-
boyant, but it looks modern and unpoetical. It
is plain inside, and, though like Chartres in plan,
it appears low and too neat to be sublime. It
has double aisles, certainly, but no mysterious
entanglement of shadows, no colour, or none
THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 181
that is entrancing. [My first sight of Orleans
cathedral was just after seeing Chartres; it is
but fair to say this. On my third visit to Or-
leans I liked it better.] There is, however, a
fine effect on looking westwards, from the series
of coloured chapels round the chevet, between
the very tall lancet openings behind the high
altar, through the nave to the western wheel
window : a really grand arrangement of lines
and masses. The church is clean, well-cushioned,
and curtained and fitted up throughout for com-
fortable piety, and — I do not enjoy upholstery in
churches. The carving is mechanical and shoppy,
as befits a cathedral made to order and furnished
by — Gillow. No one would exhaust himself in
rapture here, nor roll the eye in frenzy. The west
front is fine, with its central door and lofty
archways on either side, and three wheel win-
dows placed evenly above, all alike, with columns
uniform as a regiment, and a pair of steeples
each of three storeys, and a gallery of arches ;
fine, yes, but little inventive, perhaps.
Orleans has been greatly altered even within
the last ten years. The restorers, those house-
maids of our towns, have been at work ; they
found it picturesque, and they left it tidy and
respectable, after the example of the cathedral.
On my first visit, among other relics in what
were the slums near Diana of Poitiers' house, I
came upon an old wooden-fronted house in cross-
barred work, which was in the act of being
destroyed, and near it one tall, slender column
182 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
of an ancient building. It looked spiritually
light hovering above its own ruins. I seized
both in a sketch before the fairy column fell.
To-morrow had forgotten them. The society for
the conservation of historical monuments dusts
and takes care of the best of these relics, and leaves
the rest as lumber to be swept away. The guide-
books catalogue these remaining chattels. Let us
see Orleans by the light that still burns ; though
not even Agnes Sorel may be thought of in the
Maid's own city. One historical possession of Orleans
can never be forgotten — that is, its deliverance.
Thus runs De Commines' monumental tribute
to Henry V. of England and Agincourt : ' When
God was weary of doing them (the English) good
this wise king died at the wood of Vincennes,
and his unwise (insense) son was crowned king
of France and England.' He calls Harry of
Agincourt 4e Roy Henry le Bel et tresuaillant.'
We all know the story of Orleans and Patay,
so it will not destroy the interest if we hear the
English view of the reason for their defeat in
Bedford's letter to Henry VI.
' And alle thing then prospered for you, till
the tyme of the Siege of Orleans, taken in hand,
God knoweth by what advis. At the whiche
tyme, after the adventure fallen to the persone of
my cousin of Salysbury, whom God assoille, there
felle, by the hand of God as it seemeth, a great
strooke upon your peuple that was assembled there
in grete nombre, caused in grete partie, as y
trowe, of lakke of sadde beleve, and of unleve-
THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 183
fulle doubte, that they haclde of a disciple and
lyme of the feende, called the Pucelle, that used
fals enchantements and sorcerie. The which
strooke and discomfiture not only lessed in grete
partie the nombre of your peuple there, but as
well withdrowe the courage of the remenant in
merveillous wyse, and couraged your adverse
partie and enemys to assemble them forthwith in
So great was now the French enthusiasm that
while formerly, as Dunois says, two hundred
English could have put to flight more than eight
hundred French, now four or five hundred
soldiers dared to brave the whole English force.
But they could not act successfully without Jeanne
among them, for on the next day after her arrival,
the 30th of April, the most impatient, under
Florent d'lUiers, who had arrived on the 28th
with four hundred men, charged the English and
drove them to their bastille on the Paris road,
but the French could not support their attack,
and had to retire.
Jeanne did not wish to fight until she had
again summoned the English to retreat peace-
ably, so she wrote a second letter, demanding
also her previous herald, whom they retained
prisoner. Again they replied with insults. They
thought her an agent of Satan, and it was not
the custom of the English to tremble before the
fiend, but rather to defy him. It never occurred
to the minds of that day to disbelieve in the
agency of spiritual powers, and the remarkable
1S4. FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
coincidence of event with her predictions con-
firmed their belief in her ungodly power.
Now she wished at once to fight and drive the
enemy from Orleans, but Dunois would not attack
them until the arrival of their own troops which
were coming round from Blois ; and, to hasten their
arrival, he rode off on Sunday morning, the 1st
of May, to hurry them up. He passed proudly
under the English forts, the Maid having esta-
blished herself for his defence between the forts
and the town : the English did not stir. Then
she rode through the streets of Orleans to give
her people confidence, saying, ' The Lord has sent
me to succour the good town of Orleans.' She
came near the Morin Cross, again inviting the
garrison of the neighbouring fort to surrender it
and return with their lives safe to England. They
derided the idea of surrendering to a woman. The
next day, Monday, she rode out and carefully
inspected all the positions, followed by the people
in great crowds, who showed no fear while under
her protection. She returned to attend vespers
in the cathedral. On Tuesday, the day of Holy
Cross, assisting at the cathedral fete, she joined
the grand procession with her captains, and when
the aged men told her, ^ My daughter, the Eng-
lish are strong and well-fortified ; it will be hard
to drive them off,' she replied, ^ Nothing is im-
possible to the power of God.'
On this day contingents from Gien, Chateau
Regnard, and Montargis all arrived, but from Blois,
no one as yet. Dunois had good reason to go to
THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 185
meet the army, distrusting their movement if he
were not there. Their departure was abeady in
question on his arrival, for they were deliberating
with the chancellor of France ! Dunois showed
them that if the little army, gathered with so much
difficulty and already reduced by two-thirds of its
number — for it was melting away — were entirely
dispersed, the town and the cause must fall. He
carried the day, and they resolved to march to
Orleans with fresh munitions, moving thither by the
right bank as Jeanne had at first advised. On
Wednesday, the 4th of May, hearing of their ap-
proach, the Maid went forward about a league from
Orleans with standards displayed, to meet her own
sacred banner. The whole army passed under the
strongest bastilles of the English in the manner of
a procession, the priests chanting psalms, and
leading their war-song, the Veni Creator Spiritus,
the enemy seeming impotent before the Maid
whom they had insulted.
After dinner, Dunois came to tell the Maid that
Fastolf was bringing up reinforcements of men
and provisions for the English. She desired him
to let her know when he arrived, and not to
attack without her knowledge. Nevertheless the
attack Avas rashly begun while she was resting.
Awakening D'Aulon, her squire, to arm her in
readiness for a call, they suddenly heard a great
noise and a cry in the town that the French were
being beaten. Hurriedly she sent her page for
her horse, while she armed herself with the help
of Madame Bouchier and her hostess's little
J 86 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
daughter, Karlotte, and receiving her standard
through the window, not waiting for it to be
brought round to her, she rode rapidly by the
main street towards the Burgundy gate, her horse's
swift feet striking fire from the pavement. Here
by her personal efforts she supported the attack
so rashly begun, and they carried St. Loup, the
strongest fort of the English, before nightfall.
This success was celebrated in Orleans as the
first act of deliverance. Jeanne, who had led
the men to victory, reminded them Who was the
author of it, and told her companions of the true
conditions of the promised conquest. It was
Ascension Day (May 5th), one of the most solemn
festivals in France : Jeanne, who had never
ceased to battle against vice and disorderly con-
duct as their greatest enemies, and the obstacles to
their triumph, commanded that no one should go
out to fight to-morrow without confession, and
she wrote a final letter to the foe desiring them
to quit their forts and return home : ' otherwise,'
she writes, ' I will make you such a hahu as shall
be held in perpetual memory.' She sent no
herald this time, as hers were retained by the
enemy, but she took an arrow and tied her letter
to it, and had it fired at the English with the cry,
* Read it, there are news.' We know the rest of
the great victory of the Maid, of how her captains
disputed her advice, where, had they followed her
plan, Orleans might have been delivered with
little or no more bloodshed. Her ascendancy had
not yet had time to work upon Dunois. We
THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 187
know how she at length prevailed, and how vali-
antly she fought at the old bridge, which was a
double one in those days, after the fashion of Loire
bridges, and built a good deal higher up the river
than the present bridge, with its centre planted
upon an island. How she waved her banner and led
her countrymen to glory, crying, ' Ne vous doubtez
pas, la place est votre,' and was wounded in the
fight, as she had predicted, but still they were not
to fear, though her womanly tears flowed at the
anguish of the wound in her neck.
Her wound dressed with olive oil, she came to
Dunois, who had fought like a paladin of old, as
Froissart declares that a knight hath double
courage at need, when animated by the looks and
words of a beautiful and virtuous woman. She
told him and his men to rest awhile, to eat and
drink, although it was Friday, to gather strength.
They did so, for they were subdued by her words
' Now,' she said, ' return in the name of God to
the assault, for the English will no longer have
strength to defend themselves, but will be taken
in their outworks and their towers.'
She called for her horse and returned to the
charge, after a private prayer, and, taking her
banner from her squire, she told a gentleman to
observe when the end of her pennon touched the
' Jeanne, it touches the rampart !' he soon cried.
' All is yours now. Enter therein,' she said ;
and they scaled the walls at her word. Her sense
188 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
of pain was lost ; filled with strength inspired by
overwhelming emotion, she swept on with the
rest, her banner still their vanguard.
It was nightfall when the Tourelles were taken,
and, after waiting to see all safe, the Maid re-
entered Orleans by the quickly-repaired bridge,
as she had threatened to do, while all the bells of
Orleans saluted this fresh victory.
* God knows with what joy she and her people
were received,' says Perceval de Cagny. It was
here that the brave Salisbury, whom De Com-
mines calls the Comte de Salberi, was killed.
[But why does De Commines here date the siege
of Orleans 3rd November, 1428 ?]
There are various accounts of the incidents of
Friday and Saturday, according to which attack
the witnesses were engaged in. Wallon follows
the ' Chronique de la Pucelle.' Lebrun des Char-
mettes relates the account which I epitomise.
On the day after Ascension, Jeanne arrived eai4y
before the tower of St. Jean le Blanc. The Eng-
lish, having erected another very strong tower at
the foot of the city bridge, the French made a
bridge of boats across another arm of the Loire
from an island. They passed over only to find
the tower dismantled and abandoned by the
enemy, who had retreated to a much larger and
stronger tower, called Les Augustins, too strong
for the French to attack. The French were re-
treating in good order when the enemy sallied
out on their rear. La Hire and the Maid, whose
horses had been conveyed to them in boats,
THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 189
mounted and turned on the assailants so furiously
as to drive them back to their citadel, into which
two men, one a Frenchman (d'Aulon), the other
a Spaniard, Alphonso de Partada, animated by a
recent dispute respecting their valour, gained a
passage, closely followed by their comrades, and
the garrison was taken.
How true it is what Captain Richard Burton
says : ' In the days of European chivalry, battles
were a system of well-fought duels.' It is inter-
esting to follow up this short account with d'Au-
lon's own version of it, given in evidence at
Jeanne's trial. Being her squire, and always
about her person, his word as relating to Jeanne
is of great value. I have met with this account
in no history of the siege. Quicherat gives it in
full among the testimony in the trials. I have
D'Aulon says, a Basque came forward, when
they had sounded the retreat, and the Lord de
Villars, being fatigued with carrying Jeanne's
standard (at Orleans), gave it to the Basque to
carry, for that he knew the Basque to be a valiant
man, and the beloved standard would be followed
by the soldiery. He asked the Basque, if he en-
tered on foot into the boulevart, whether he would
follow, which the- Basque promised to do. Then
he entered the ditch, and went to the foot of the
boulevart, covering himself with his target for
fear of stones, and left his companion on the other
side, expecting to be followed closely. But when
the Maid saw her banner in the hands of the
190 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
Basque, she feared to lose it, seeing that he who
carried it was entered into the said ditch. Came
the Pucelle and grasped the banner by the end,
so that he could not have it, crying, ' Ha !
mon estandart, mon estandart !' and brandished
the standard so the 'ymaginacion ' of this witness
was that it seemed like a sign to the others ; and
then the speaker (d' Anion) cried, ' Ha, Basque, is
this thy promise ?' Then the Basque tore the
standard from the Maid's hands, went to the
speaker carrying the standard ; then all those
behind the Maid gathered up and rallied, and by
si grant aspresse assailed the boulevart that in a
short time the boulevart and bastille were taken
(par eulx prins), and the French entered Orleans
by the bridge.
The Basque is the Alphonso de Partada of Le-
brun's account, and d'Aulon, the deponent, he
who led the attack. He, or De Villars, for the
story is here somewhat confused, weary, gave the
standard to the Basque, and fearing that evil
should follow from the retreat, and the bastille,
&c., remain in the enemy's hands, he imagined, if
the banner were led before them, the men-at-arms
would follow it from aifection, and they could
thus gain the boulevart.
D'Aulon seems always to have been fired by
the Maid's enthusiasm. He says she was a very
good Christian, and ' qu'elle devoit etre inspiree.'
You may make an impostor, you cannot make
a heroine ; she must be born as a poet must.
It is hard before such deeds to keep strictly
THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 191
within topographical lines, to leave to other his-
torians the pomp and circumstance and glow of
battle, the excitement of war and enthusiasm,
every word of whose language is poetry. It is
hard to leave to others these adornments. My
tale is stripped of these as it is of the flowers of
love. I am not a battle-painter, and the siege
of Orleans has been described by those who are
able to depict such scenes.
Near the end of the former bridge stands the
Cross of the Pucelle, which marks the spot where
the fight took place. A dirty, damp cellar is all
that remains of the famous fort called Les Tour-
elles, the taking of which was the principal feat
of arms in the saving of Orleans, and this was
achieved by Jeanne d'Arc herself. The ancient
prediction was fulfilled, ' Quand les hommes
auront tout perdu, une femme viendra tout
sauver.' ('When men shall have lost all, a
woman will come and save everything.')
On Sunday morning, the 8th of May, the
English retreated in good order from before
Orleans and fell back upon Meung, and, their
backs turned, the French, guided by Jeanne
d'Arc, visited all the churches to return thanks
to the Giver of Victory, improvising, as Wallon
says, in the joy of triumph that procession which
the Bishop of Orleans instituted soon afterwards,
and which has been perpetuated from age to age
in memory of the Maid of Orleans, the pious
girl who, in the day of peril, saved her country.
The Maid had shown her sign.
192 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UAUC.
To this day the statues of Jeanne d'Arc, from
the semi- classical standing figure in bronze, by
Gois, on the bridge, to the fine and feeling
statue by the Princess Marie of Orleans in front
of the Hotel de la Mairie near the cathedral, are all
wreathed and illuminated during almost the whole
of May in her honour. The Societe Agricole holds
its fete and Orleans is gay with bunting by day
and coloured lamps by night. Jeanne's eques-
trian statue, by Foyatier, is garlanded with laurel
and arbor-vitaB, the illuminations round the
pedestal light up the story of her life, written
there in bronze bas-reliefs. Flags wave in all the
main streets, and arches and Venetian masts line
the way to the railway station, which is surrounded
by theatrical decorations of painted scenery. The
shop- windows are full of souvenirs of the Maid,
while of the newspapers describing the festival
of the 8th of May soon not a single copy remains.
There is at Orleans a museum of works of art
executed in honour of the Maid, and objects
connected with her history; among them is a
portrait of Jeanne painted from the best authori-
ties in the year 1581, but her best efiigj^ was the
Maid of Orleans' monument on the bridge struck
down by the cannon of the Calvinists in 1567.
It was restored, and destroyed, this time entirely,
in the great Revolution.
The raising of the siege of Orleans was begun
and finished within a week, and out of this three
days, Sunday the 1st of May, Tuesday the 3rd,
Holy Cross, and Thursday the 5th, the Feast of
THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 193
the Ascension, were consecrated to prayer. On
Sunday the 8th the siege was raised. Jeanne
left Orleans on the 9th of May, returning to
Blois and Tours, whence she went to Loches to
seek the king, to tell him the good news, and
persuade him to go with her to Rheims to re-
ceive his crown. How was she to know that
the laziness of man, the vis inertia, is a power
indeed, and one of the greatest ? It was not
so often felt in those active days as we feel it
Out in the fields again, a joyous, sparkling
cavalcade, beaming with success with banners float-
ing among the flowering hawthorn and guelde-
roses which shelter the barley and young wheat,
their steel reflected in the pools whitened with
arrowhead and frogbit. The larks, fluttering up,
joined their song of triumph.
The bridges are now free across the Cher, no
scouts need watch their road nor patrol their
night camp ; they are among friends now. The
trees are white with blossom, whose crops will
not be wrenched from them by the stranger ; the
warm yellow earth will be moistened by those
heavy clouds for themselves and for their children.
Now they mount the higher ground at Mont-
bazon studded with fir-plantations and genista.
How among these genista-covered commons one
goes back into history's morning, and one's own
school-days too, riding in fancy with Plantagenet.
A railway now runs through these landscapes,
but though one can see the outlines of the
194 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
country and of history from the train, one fills
it in best on horseback or on foot.
They cross the Indre and follow its course in
the shade of poplars filled with mistletoe. In the
valley stands the old romanesque, two-storeyed
tower and stone spire of Cormery ; the distance
is purple-shadowed by the lowering clouds that
enhance the emblazoned fields of crimson trefoil
and blue vetch, the pink lucerne, and yellow en-
closures full of sheep, all belted in by the purple
zone of the horizon. To-day their land seems of
a richer colour than ever. Their hearts have not
been so light for many a long day.
Past Reignac, and Chambourg with its high-
tiled roofs, and then come the rock dwellings, and
now the towers of Loches. It is the first time
Jeanne has entered Loches ; at any rate, the first
time she has been welcomed there as an honoured
guest. All hearts are open to her now, though it
is less her victory at Orleans than her ' strong
faith and pure life which stamp her as the mes-
senger of God.'
Here Charles was staying. He received the
victorious Maid with honours, and made her good
cheer. Indeed, when she met Charles, he looked
so glad the people thought he would have kissed
her. But he did not follow her advice, which
was made with her usual straightforwardness.
This would have been to disarrange himself and
put himself to inconvenience with his idle court ;
who placed obstacles in the way of pushing the
victory — who tried how not to do it. It was
THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 195
easier to argue than to act. They needed their
little money for pleasanter purposes than to pay
armies. They did not care to buy a kingdom : it
seemed like a white elephant to some of them.
How could they go to Rheims, they pleaded, leav-
ing the enemy entrenched behind them in strong-
holds on the Loire at Jargeau, Meung, and Beau-
gency? Driven from Orleans, the English had
strengthened themselves within these towns, and
when the French captains, under the leadership of
Dunois, taking advantage of the impression pro-
duced by the name of Joan of Arc, sought to take
Jargeau, they had to give up the enterprise.
Then to assemble a sufficient following to ac-
company the king to Rheims needed time, and
how could this be better employed than in dis-
lodging the English from their strong positions
on the Loire ? Jeanne adopted the project, and
the Duke of Alen9on was to join her in the
This might take a long time ; at least, it was
postponing indefinitely the evil day in which their
own courtly persons would be called upon to pay.
They had gained time, and could be comfortable
under a distant prospect of restored royalty,
which included its cares. Jeanne had taken the
work in hand, let her finish it, and get the
kingdom ready warmed and aired for them to
enter upon, while they relished their good Vou-
vray wine and gigot de Berri, to the sound of
viols and rebecks, and roundels by Alain Chartier.
They were not a romantic, nor a chivalrous set of
196 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
people, but amiable butterflies merely, who only
asked to flutter merrily through life. Harold
Skimpole the First was Charles the airy dauphin.
Loches Castle is too serious a residence for such
a feather-headed monarch. It is a far more
picturesque place than Chinon, though not yet
grim with the terrors Louis XL caused its strong
castle and tall donjon to gape with, which give
a shudder even now to the careless casual visitor
to Loches. It was brighter, gayer in Charles the
Dauphin's time, when the court occupied the
more domestic palace that has since been convert-
ed into the Sous-prefecture : a home-like place,
softened further by imprints of the gentle Agnes
Sorel, the patriot. La plus belle des belles, on
whom for her kindness and charity even the
sternest moralist must look charitably.
The castle of Loches sets the seal on the horrors
of the middle-ages. It is well-known as one of
the flnest fortified castles in France. Its clifF-like
height and prodigious strength make one quake
while standing in the courtyard by the provision-
well, all moss grown, that goes down deep into
the subterraneans, and has or had an outlet in the
town below. One enters twilighted dungeons, at
whose loopholes weeds and blanched ivy-leaves,
winding on long white stems, straggle in with a
weary grace, wan with lost light. The finest sum-
mer can only foster round these gleams of outer day
some thread-like sprays of attenuated pale green
foliage and half-developed flowers, still in their
weakness a solace to the prisoner ; though his hand
THE MAW OF ORLEANS. 197
could not reach them, nor his lips kiss them, they
told of Nature's sympathy. Here is Ludovic
Sforza's strange, weirdly-pictured prison, a room
with vaulted roof all painted over by himself with
patterns and inscriptions, and his remembrance, in
colossal outline^ of his own head as seen mirrored
by daylight long ago. He did not willingly let
himself die. This is his sundial ! to measure such
sun as could reach him through an embrasure of
wall seven metres thick, so the guide says ; though
the castle walls generally are only eight feet thick ;
this embrasure is deeper through the splay and
copings outside and in, one cannot get at it to
measure it through the seven ranges of gratings.
To unused eyes it is a mockery of daylight, only
a dim, ghastly twilight that the sundial measures.
Poor wretch ; he existed here for ten years, and
died of joy at hearing he was free.
Here are Cardinal Balue's dungeon, his cage
door, and other grisly sights, and ^# Wslj ^^^
ivnir -|- Ittttn,' an inscription traced by some un-
known English prisoner at Loches. Did Jeanne
d'Arc ever shudder in these castles with predictive
sympathy ? Her friend, the Duke of Alen^on,
was imprisoned here in 1456.
Loches is a clean, pretty town, rising on a
conical hill. It is highly picturesque, with its
tall, romanesque belfry-tower, and its numerous
portcuUised gates, from which its streets, lively
with shops and attractive ' bits ' for the artist,
slope upward to the donjon and the many-
steepled church of St. Ours, an early romanesque
198 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
building of marked peculiarities. It has a Roman
altar in its porch, hollowed with a leaden basin
for holy water. There are fine sculptures, for-
merly coloured, round the portal. The octagonal
stone spires are hollow within, forming pointed
cupolas supported on pendentives. Two tiny
low arches, just wide enough to squeeze oneself
through, divide the aisles from the nave. The
church has an apsular end, beneath which is a
crypt, part of which is known as the prayer
chapel of Louis XL
Fergusson says of this church, with reference
to the construction of domed roofs, ^At Loches,
we find the pointed arch introduced evidently
for this purpose, forming a class of roofs more
like those of mosques in Cairo than any other
buildings in Europe. The variety of form and
perspective they afi'ord internally, and the char-
acter and truthfulness they give to the roof, as
seen from without, are such advantages that w^e
cannot but regret that these two expedients of
stone external roofs and domes were not adopted
in Gothic' It was commenced by Geofi*rey Grise
Gonelle, Count of Anjou, in 962, and continued
by his son, Foulques Nerra.
The king soon left Loches for St. Aignan,
in Berri, accompanied by the Maid, who was
again joyous so soon as they were in movement.
Here, on the higher ground, there is fine air and
windy blue sky, the ground is also blue with
milkwort. Apple-trees line the road with rosy
blossoms, fairer than the flags at Orleans, and
THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 199
these vine-trails are richer than those festoons.
Here, too, Charles sees what all France might be,
if it were only free and strongly defended ; for the
country is well-farmed hereabout, and the corn
(now in May) is in three stages of its growth,
from the autumn and spring sowing ; the barley
is in full ear, and the latest wheat just sprouting.
The Maid, having the king's interest at heart,
rode again to Selles, four leagues from St. Aignan,
where the troops were to be reviewed for the
campaign. It does not appear that Charles in-
spected the army, though he rode with Gui de
Laval to see the Maid on the 6th of June, just
as she was setting oiF for Romorantin with a
portion of the troops. The Maid was always the
first to move.
Gui de Laval, writing pleasantly to his mother
and grandmother about the great fight of Or-
leans, beginning, ' Mes tres redoutees dames et
meres,' says of Jeanne's appearance and manner
at court, ^ Et semble chose toute divine de son
faict et de la voir et de I'ouir."^ Gui was the first
Count de Laval of his family, and was by turn
admiral and marshal of France. The ladies, driven
from Laval by the English, lived at Vitre Castle,
in Brittany. Anne de Laval, the grandmother,
had been in her youth married to the famous Con-
stable du Guesclin. Gui de Laval wrote from Ste.
Katherine de Fierbois previously to this letter,
written on the 8th of June, 1429, ' et fit laditte
* And there seems something quite divine in her deeds, and in
seeing and hearing her.
200 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
Pucelle tres bonne chere a mon frere et a moy.'
The Maid sends the aieule a ring, ' un bien petit
anneau d'or ;' a trifle, she would willingly have
sent more ' consider e votre recommendation.'
The famous, or rather infamous, Gilles de Laval,
Lord of Retz, Ingrande, and Chantoce (the original
of the story of ' Bluebeard,' that same year Mar-
shal of France, executed in 1440 for sorcery,
aggravated by detestable crimes), also joined the
Maid's army, on Wednesday, 8th of June, with
the Duke of Alen9on, Dunois, and Gaucourt.
They said the king himself meant to follow on
the morrow, but he seems to have been hindered
in some way. Perhaps the courtiers were afraid
of Jeanne's personal ascendancy leading the king
to battle, or perhaps even to Rheinis. The person
who exercised most importunity always gained
him over to his side, and it was chiefly La Tre-
mouille who stood near him. The king dared not
trust his own sense of right : perhaps he was
deficient in this sense.
In thinking of Charles, one has to make a good
deal of allowance for his unfortunate bringing-up,
by an evil mother and a mad father. It was
lucky for him that they also neglected him.
The Maid wished the queen to go to Rheims.
It was discussed, and the queen wished it also.
It hinged on a question of money probably. How-
ever, the favourite. La Tremouille, wished her
away, and the queen returned to Bourges.
A WONDERFUL WEEK JARGEAU AND PATAY.
PuCELLE. Of all base passions, fear is most accursed.
Command the conquest, Charles ; it shall be thine.
Let Henry fret and all the world repine.
Charles. Then on, my lords ; and France be fortunate.
A WONDERFUL week's work then began. On the
9th of June, the little army had returned to
Orleans, where the Maid was enthusiastically
welcomed, and on Saturday, the 11th, she ad-
vanced with her force towards Jargeau, some
twelve miles from Orleans.
Another joyous, hopeful march, for the victorious
Maid was with the army, and in chief command.
She had as her principal aide-de-camp her friend,
the Duke of Alenfon, now free to fight for France.
Taken prisoner at Verneuil, he obtained his
liberty in 1427, leaving hostages for part of his
ransom. He redeemed them by the sale of lands
— and a loan from Charles VII. (?) some say a
gift (!) The Duke of Bedford declared him quit,
even from his faith and promise, on the 21st of
May, 1429 : so that he could return to the king's
service. There were no schemes of deception
now towards Jeanne d'Arc, among her army at
202 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
least, whatever wiles court intrigue might mesh
' Then was a time of colour, when the sunlight
fell on glancing steel and floating banners.' All
the picturesque of war; as Joshua Barnes says of
Poitiers, ' then you might have beheld a most
beautiful sight of fair harness, of shining steel,
feathered crests of glittering helmets, and the
rich embroidery of silken surcoats of arms, to-
gether with golden standards, banners, and pen-
nons gloriously moving in the air.' Leighton's
fresco of the Industries of War pales before this
picture. ' Their gorgeous heraldry and silken
surcoats glittering to the midday sun,' r.s Southey
hath it. The Maid with the mercurial tempera-
ment of the Frenchwoman, or the artist, revelled
in all this lustre on her glory, rejoicing yet more
in the glowing warmth of her soldiery as in these
battles a roused love of country sharpened their
swords. Jeanne was too young and innocent,
too womanly to conceal her satisfaction at all this
pomp and brilliancy. Her transparent character
reveals these natural instincts of vanity, and love
of toys and trinkets, of finery and spangles, that is
only subdued when custom has staled them to us.
These touches of child-like nature seen through
the hardness of her heroism are like the charming
fibrous ramifications of moss in agate or in rock
crystal, not blemishes but beauties. She could at
once sacrifice these pleasures at duty's call, as
she gave up her friends and animals, her home
itself, at the call of the spiritual voice command-
ing her to go forth.
A WONDERFUL WEEK.—JARGEAU AND PATAY. 203
Their route was by the left bank of the Loire,
across the level country where a continuous
village now lines the road to Jargeau. At San-
dillon, twelve kilometres from Orleans, they were
greeted by the villagers, who even now flock out
to see who comes in the diligence, or any chance
passing carriage, and nod a friendly welcome. A
simple, happy peasantry who live their life and
enjoy it, who understand, without learning it
from lecturers on political economy, that a wood-
stack is real property, a hedge of white roses a
real luxury. Grass is to be had for the cutting
by the old woman for her cow, sticks for her pick-
ing to make her cooking-charcoal. No one
destroys, all use and enjoy, and by the cross
where the roads fork they think of Whose chil-
dren they are. For social gathering they have
the all-sorts shop, a miniature Army and Navy co-
operative store, a country club giving opportuni-
ty for the good-natured local gossip that is the
mortar of society. In all, we know and hear and
see, we feel how vastly difi*erent Paris is from
At Darvoy stands the tall May-pole for the
vine-dressers' festival. How happy life is here,
with no machinery to hurry it on, making one
civilized, rich, luxurious, troubled, in one's own
Objector. Yet the Bible seems to prophesy of
machinery and exalt it, and symbolise the power
of mind over matter in the vision of wheels
within wheels. The spirit of the living creatures
was in the wheels.
204 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
Bejoinder. Bah, by your own reading, macKin-
ery is a type merely of the subhmer meaning of
this heavenly mechanism; a symbol of a move-
ment, as the clock face images the mere time-beat
of the solemn dance of the universe to the music
of the spheres. Do not attempt flights ; let us
not be as shuttlecocks which fly upwards only to
drop down again. Look at what lies before us.
In the trenched ground with vines planted at
each side of the ridge, as the way is here — for vine-
culture holds its local traditions as well as other
arts — see the old woman among the vines, seem-
ingly amusing herself : the toil is not hard even
for her age. It is true Nature here does much
for the people \ they need not trouble themselves
to do much more than hope, gather in, and enjoy.
See, too, a man stirring mortar; the fine white
stone lies so temptingly to his hand that it is a
pleasure to build with it. It is work, while it
lasts, but not slavery, like the ten-hours daily
grind in towns. They all have a smile and a
word for the traveller as he passes (much more
had their forefathers for Jeanne d'Arc, their saint
and their deliverer). So far are they from the
whirr of iron life, the traveller is at once their
newspaper and their book of travel. Flowers
grow by their doorsteps, where dust lies in towns
in lieu of flowers. A month since they were
great scented stocks, each plant as big as a flower-
bed, which bloomed here ; I saw it so, a per-
fumer's shop was nothing to it : now in June the
air is spicy with pinks and roses. Money is such
A WONDERFUL WEEK.— JARGEAU AND PATAl. 205
a poor form of wealth : pleasantness is real
property. Emptiness of joy is itself a great
sorrow. As for the world, ' they lose it that do
buy it with much care.'
Objector. Are you inditing a new copy-book ?
Bejoinder. A sardonic smile is no answer.
Look around you. Are we better off than these
people, or better in any way, though we read
everything new as it comes out ?
Objector. True ; but are they better or longer
lived than we ?
Eejoinder. They are healthier while they live,
and less anxious. Our life is a battle wdth
Nature ; theirs is peace and co-operation with
her. Their wealth, like truth, springs out of the
earth, and drops down like righteousness from
heaven. Each year brings its increase, that best
of interest, which God gives to the labourer
Objector. And man takes from him for the
Rejoinder, In each year they can pay a cheer-
ful tithe to the Wealth-giver (no earthly capitalist
grasping his per centage), Whose benign influence
they see ; helping their belief. Faith is harder
for us, for we cannot see — some, alas ! cannot
believe. They are content to live happily upon
their labour ; they do not, like the greedy gentle-
man farmer, expect to live luxuriously and lay
by a fortune as well.
Objector, The roads are good, and good roads
are the foundation and proof of civilization.
Rejoinder. Yet the swallows skim all the same
206 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UAUC.
and children leap and run. Still good roads are
good things, and there you meet me.
Objector. Yet railways are the pulses, as rivers
are the nerves of a country.
Bejoinder. Similes are poor stuiF. These roads
are an inheritance from their forefathers ; they
hand them down righteously to their children,
with vineyards, windmills, wells, and other con-
veniences. Anyway, it is a well-peopled country;
the people do not care to leave it.
Objector, If you like it so much, why don't
you come and live here? It would cost you
nothing ; you would turn a profit.
Rejoinder. T have my reasons.
Objector. Good ones, doubtless.
Rejoinder. There is no end to wrangling raised
on questions such as these.
Objector. So let us agree to differ and travel
on with Jeanne d'Arc.
On she must go. Her king commands it, and
she has put herself at his service. Albeit not to-day
supported by direct commandment from above ;
yet if she fail now all is lost : the patient past,
the glory of Orleans, the promise of the future.
She must not fail ; the strength of a host lies
in her single will. Onward with the banner.
Jargeau was then a small compact town, alto-
gether a fortress, very strong, and resolutely held
by the Earl of Suffolk with six or seven hundred
picked men, provided with cannon. The Maid's
force was seven thousand men ; yet, so used were
they to tremble before the English, that on the
A WONDERFUL WEEK.-JARGEAU AND PATAY. 207
road many of Jeanne's soldiers wished to turn
back on the report that Fastolf was coming to
the help of Jargeau with a numerous troop.
Many fled, and Jeanne only retained the waverers
by affirming that God certainly led the enter-
prise. She meant the large general enterprise of
freeing France from the invader, of which this
formed an episode.
Jeanne meant to lodge her army in the sub-
urbs for that night, but the common people, not
the army, filled with the might of her presence,
threw themselves into the moats and at once be-
gan the attack, without waiting for her to direct
them. They were repulsed by the English, when
the Maid, taking her standard and coming among
the army, restored their courage, and they were
located in the suburbs, as she had intended.
Jeanne, according to her custom, sent a herald
to the besieged to bid them depart with their
lives and their horses safe. ' En leur petite
cotte,' that is to say, with nothing but the
clothing worn beneath the armour. They de-
manded a fortnight's truce. By this time suc-
cours would have come. Jeanne said they must
depart immediately, or the onset would begin ;
and on the following morning, Sunday the 12th
of June, at nine o'clock, the trumpets sounded,
and she called to Alen9on, ' Forward to the
assault, fair duke.' He thought it was too early
to begin, but she replied, ^ Doubt nothing ; it is
the hour when God pleases — we must work when
God wills. Work, and God will work,' and she
208 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
added, 'Ah! fair duke, dost thou fear? Thou
knowest I have promised thy wife that thou
shouldest return safe and sound.'
In this very assault she was the means of
saving his life. A catapult was pointed towards
the spot where he stood. ' Retire/ she said, ' for
here is an engine that will kill you.' He retired,
and a minute afterwards the Lord of Lude was
slain by it on the spot where the duke had stood.
The English held firm for four hours (or till
four p.m.) Jeanne and the Duke of Alen9on
themselves descended into the ditch, and the Maid
holding her banner, mounted a scaling ladder.
The banner was captured, and Jeanne was struck
and stunned by a stone which broke upon her
helmet. She fell, but soon rose again, crying,
' Up, friends, the English are condemned ; they are
ours now. Be of good courage.' The French,
emboldened, took the town, and Suffolk was
made prisoner. What remains at Jargeau besides
the history of that day ?
The walls are levelled in many places, and the
moat is filled up and planted in gardens, the
town having spread beyond its former limits.
It has now 2,358 inhabitants. I was being
taken for a scamper round the place by a
man of sixty-four, who well remembered the
levelling of the old fortifications, when he was
eight years old. We made the circuit of the
old town, that is, of what was formerly within
the fortifications. The rest he called ' the
WONDERFUL WEEK.— JARGEAU AND PATAY. 209
' At the corner of the boulevard was a tower.
The present street where the yard of the ''Hotel
de la Boule d'Or " now is, was once within the
fort : the wall was carried round where the op-
posite houses now are ; their gardens are in the
ditch.' The moat is tilled up. 'Here are the
last remaining battlements. The wall was one
metre thirty centimetres thick. This is the Porte
de Berri.' Its square pillars remain. A chestnut
promenade follows the line of the former ditch at
this part. My friend in the blouse saw it filled up.
' Je I'ai vu bouche, moi. There are subterranean
passages under the avenue. Les couloirs existent.'
'This is the church' — this at least I could see
for myself. It has a square tower, with three
small, round-headed windows at the top of each
side — ' near the hospice and the ancient chapter-
house of St. Vrin, demolished. A house here
was the Tourelle des Vieilles prisons ' — now Rue
des Vieilles prisons. ' This is the Rue de I'ancien
Pont.' It Avas written up. ' The present suspen-
sion bridge was built in 1834.' It is a long, lofty
bridge, connecting the town with the railway.
At Jargeau was formerly one of the many fortified
(towered) bridges on the Loire. ' In Jeanne d' Arc's
time ' (so the man in blue says) ' there was a
bridge of seventeen arches in stone, one of the
most ancient on the Loire, a stone's throw above
the present bridge. It was destroyed in 1794.'
His grandfather remembered it. ' You see the
ditch is all planted. This is the Porte Neuve.
The ancient passage under it exists. The place
210 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC,
where Jeanne d'Arc was wounded ' (? struck down)
Svas here at the angle of the boulevard Porte
Madeleine. Ah, oui, madame, c'etait une bien
brave femme. Elle se donnait pour la France :
elle se devouait. The strono^est and oldest srate is
ninety metres ' (one hundred yards) ' or so further
on. Les couloirs existent. There is the tourelle,
there was another tower formerly on the other
side.' He saw it all at twelve years old, the
year of his first communion ; he remembers it
well. He used to play in the moat.
The Inn of the Boule d'Or (a nice young couple
keep it) is built over the ditch. The front gardens
of the houses facing it are in what the man in blue
called ' the fields.' The greater part of the present
town of Jargeau Avas formerly faubourg. Flowers
grow on the ancient wall, and tame rabbits are kept
in the thickness of the arches. The quiet, gloomy,
thick-Avalled streets give the idea of the interior of
a fortress. The faubourg is more modern nnd cheer-
ful. The women about here have wonderfully fine,
rather fair hair. They look like a Gothic rather
than a Gallic race. The girls have a naturally fresh-
coloured complexion. The church is romanesque,
with a small dog-tooth moulding round the south
door, where I entered. It has round arches in-
side, small, deep-set clerestory windows, and slabs
of flat stone on the round columns supporting the
round-arched vaulting. This, at least, has been
unaltered since the siege of Jargeau. I dipped
my fingers in the ancient holy-water stoup used by
the Maid of Orleans, the heroine of Jargeau.
A WONDERFUL WEEK.—JARGEAUANDPATAY. 211
The taking of Jargeau was a great day for
Jeanne, for she was the leader of the enterprise,
and it was reckoned an especially strong place.
Much of the success was due to her own personal
courage and military skill. She rode back in
triumph to Orleans, with the prisoners and tro-
phies, on Monday, 13th of June, where she rallied
her troops. On Wednesday, the 15th, she rode
to Meung, and took the fortified bridge, leaving
alone the capture of the toAvn for the present. This
bridge opened up the road to her army, and she
pushed on to Beaugency on the 16th. This town
capitulated on Friday, the 17th. The English at
Meung, knowing Beaugency had been given up,
retired at once, with their garrison.
A dispute between Alen9on and the Constable
de Richemont, who wished to assist in the libera-
tion of the realm, threatened to divide Jeanne's
compact little army, and had nearly compromised
their success at Beaugency. Jeanne mediated be-
tween them, and offered to reconcile Richemont
with the king, who hated him, perhaps chiefly
because he was the personal enemy of La Tre-
mouille, his chancellor and favourite. English
reinforcements coming up, under Sir John Fastolf,
gave greater weight to Jeanne's intercession, and
Richemont and Alen9on fought side by side before
Beaugency. Fastolf reached the spot too late to
save Beaugency, whose garrison, conquered by
the Maid at Orleans, retreated in good order upon
Paris, under the command of Talbot, the Achilles
212 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ABC.
Jeanne followed the foe across the Beauce to
Yanville, and the battle of Patay was fought on
Saturday, the 18th of June, very near the site of the
' Battle of Herrings ' fought near Artenay and Rou-
vray in the early spring. How different were the for-
tunes of France at this time ! The numbers engaged
in this battle are differently given by different
writers ; only this much is certain, Fastolf won
himself eternal obloquy for his over-great pru-
dence in this battle. Shakespeare's Talbot says,
when tearing the garter from Fastolf's knee,
* This dastard, at the battle of Patay,
When but in all I was six thousand strong,
And that the French were almost ten to one
Before we met or that a stroke was given,
Like to a trusty squire did run away ;
In which assault we lost twelve hundred men,
Myself and divers gentlemen beside
Were there surprised and taken prisoners.
Then j udge, great lords, if I have done amiss.
Or whether that such cowards ought to wear
This ornament of knighthood, yea or no.'
Gloucester. — ' To say the truth, this fact was infamous
And ill-beseeming any common man.
Much more a knight, and a captain and a leader.'
Talbot believed Jeanne's power was from be-
neath ; his patriotism seemed to clash with hers,
and he thought he defended himself better in
fighting her than in hearkening to her. Like an
awful reverberation, or earthquake roll, grimly
sounded the ghastly charge of sorcery, that
capital crime, the one unpardonable sin of the
In the battle of Patay Monstrelet says, ^ Les
Fran9ois moult de pres mirent pied a terre et
A WONDERFUL WEEK— JARGEAU AND PATAY. 213
descenclirent la plus grande partie de leurs
chevaulx.' Hear, too, De Coinmines' reason for
the practice. ' Divers lords fought on foot, for
at that time among the Burgundians it was
most honourable to fight in that manner among
the archers, and there was always a large num-
ber of these volunteers among them, to encourage
the infantry and make them fight the better.
They had learnt this custom from the English,
when Duke Philip made war upon France, during
his youth, for thirty-two years together without
truce.' He adds this remark, ' But the greatest
part of the burden of the war lay upon the
English, who were powerful and rich, and gov-
erned at that time by Henry V.' In these thirty-
two years the English lessons of warfare had not
been lost upon the French. We had trained
them to fight us too well, and Jeanne and Dunois
were persons well calculated to apply those lessons.
Talbot was taken prisoner. ' It is the for-
tune of war/ said he, gravely, to the young
Duke of Alen9on. ' After Patay,' says Lenglet de
Fresnoy, ' Jeanne presented to the king a captive
hero, in himself a host, the renowned and for-
midable Talbot.' Saintrailles, the captor of Tal-
bot, had the generosity to send him back without
ransom, Avhich Talbot some time afterwards
returned by a similar service, so says Martin.
Shakespeare, however, makes Talbot say,
' The Duke of Bedford had a prisoner
Call'd the brave Lord Ponton de Saintrailles ;
For him 1 was exchanged and ransomed.'
2U FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
On this or some other occasion after Pat ay
Talbot was afterwards ransomed and created
Earl of Shrewsbury. In 1443 he was killed
when nearly eighty years of ag-e, with his son,
Lord Lisle, at the battle of Chatillon.
The Maid returned on Sunday morning from
Patay to Orleans. A week only had elapsed, the
campaign which the king had ordered upon the
Loire was over, and the fortresses were in the king's
hands. Li this life-sized game of chess the king was
in check no longer ; the castles Avere taken, and
Jeanne was the all-powerful queen.
She attacked Jargeau on the 1 1th of June,
took it on the 12th, and on the 13th was again
at Orleans ; the bridge of Meung was taken on
the 15th, on the 16th she was before Beaugency,
it capitulated on the 17th. On the 18th was the
battle of Patay. What a wonderful week ! Two
sieges and a pitched battle, and the strong bridge
of Meung taken, wdiich caused the evacuation of
the town. The mere journeys over the country
traversed is work enough to fill a week of great
interest. Between Orleans and Patay one crosses
part of La Beauce, teeming with fertility, a mono-
tony of wealth ; a country widely diiFering from
Jeanne's green Lorraine, that being pastoral, this
entirely agricultural land. A broad level domi-
nated by the vast height of Chartres cathedral.
Truly it may be said of all this northern part of
France that the mountains are entirely of man's
making, and they give the feeling of the subHme
in the same way as do the natural mountains of
A WONDERFUL WEEK.—JARGEAUANDPATAY. 215
other lands, by their intrinsic splendour and the
far-reachino: views to be obtained from the sum-
inits of both.
What Avas once the forest of Orleans, haunted in
geological ages by animals whose fossil remains in the
fresh-water limestone tellus that they were gigantic
quadruf)eds (Deinotherium), is now a great corn-
land, intermingled with residue of forests, sloping
upwards from the vineyards by the Loire. A vast
expanse of corn, hay, clover, and lucerne, so wide
that, standing at any point, one feels as on a
variegated island in a lake of blue, the distance
melting off everywhere into width like that of the
ocean. A wide, exposed plain, almost treeless,
dotted with hamlets and peasants' villages, each
headed up by its little church of no particular
style ; the teeming fields, the banks embroidered
Avith spikes of dark-blue flowers, the fields of
pink lucerne patterned over with hawkweed and
white stars, the hawthorn hedges still white with
bloom, and at intervals, dark upon the verge of
the distance, a short line of wriggling elm-trees^
writhing skywards against the pressure of winds.
In all this campaign Jeanne had shown a
steadiness marvellous in one so lately risen to
power. The rapid rise had not dizzied her brain,
nor had the transition made her reel, which even
heroes have not always been capable of bearing calm-
ly. Charles XII. was possessed by mad chimeras of
ambition. Napoleon rushed to Moscow from his new-
made empire ; Jeanne kept steadily to her purpose,
and did not enlars^e her horizon with her hiirher
216 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
standpoint. Her enthusiasm was a gift laid on
her from without ; it was no selfish ambition
surging up from within, exciting her to extrava-
gance. Her pure life proved her a child of God,
and to children of God all things are possible.
To make France brave again, this was what was
needed, the current of enthusiasm from the heart
of Jeanne d'Arc. 'To Rheims !' cried the croAvd,
Who could now doubt that Jeanne would lead
her king to be crowned at Rheims ? None but
those whom long, sad experience has convinced
that lazy indifference is the greatest force on earth.
An empty money-bag, besides, is a greater weight
than a full one. ' R n'y a point de soulde,' writes
Gui de Laval, that charming letter- writer and
gossip. Yet the king had a good bargain in Jeanne.
If Charles had recovered his realm by the help of
James I., King of Scotland, a treaty which had been
drawn up at Chinon, November 10th, 1428, would
have obliged him to give James the duchy of
Berri or the county of Evreux. Jeanne did it
cheaper. A few jDleasant words and a war-horse
or so sufficed to pay her. His friends relieved
him for the most part even of her equipment.
There exists an order given by Charles, Duke of
Orleans, for paraphernalia for Jeanne d'Arc, about
June, 1429, at the time when she rested at Orleans
after Jargeau and Patay, to the value of thirteen
golden crowns, of the weight of sixty-four to the
mark. This costume was likewise made in the
Duke of Orleans' colours.
THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS.
' Gentil Dauphin, ne teiiez plus tant et de si longs conseils, mais
venez au plustot a Reims pour recevoir votre digne couronne.'
(' Gentle Dauphin, do not hold so many and such long councils, but
come at soonest to Rheims to receive your just crown,')
Jeanne cCArc to Charles VIL
The prestige of the English was broken : the
French no longer dreaded the irresistible arehers
of Cressy and Agincourt. But the secret of the
Eno-lish weakness was that their councils were
divided, and the king too young to fight for him-
self. There was lack of Avill on France's side also.
There was nothing now to hinder the coronation
at Rheims but the vacillating weakness of Charles
himself and the selhsh policy of his court.
Jeanne was at Orleans ; the king was at La
Tremouille's castle at SuUy-sur-Loire, kept care-
fully out of the Avay of her personal influence.
Nevertheless, Jeanne was bound to appear before
him there to perform her engagement made with
regard to Richemont. The king pardoned him
at her intercession, but he refused to allow him
to join the court in their journey to Rheims on
account of La Tremouille, which displeased the
218 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
Maid. La Tremouille was none the better satis-
fied that people flocked to the camp, desiring to
serve under the Maid at their own charges. He
wished to be all-in-all to the king, and could not
bear that gratitude should be due to others besides
Charles himself seemed to prefer being King of
Bourges with La Tremouille than King of France
by means of the Maid. It must have been dis-
couraging to any ardent spirit to work with or
fight for such a faineant king ; but Jeanne acted
under the orders of the King of Kings, and hers
was no self-asserting, common mind that took
offence readily. Loyalty first, then patriotism,
was the creed she had been brought up in, and
she could not allow herself to believe that her
king could be her country's enemy. To her he
was Pater Patrise. Even the wise and learned
Sismondi admits of her that she was ' impelled
(rather than excited) by a thoughtful patriotism,'
of which loyalty was the first principle.
What most wearied the Maid was the hesitation
of the king and his delays. She wept before him,
and begged him not to doubt but that he would
recover his kingdom. She followed him consecu-
tively to St. Benoit-sur-Loire, where there was
at that time a monastery, whose church is even
now one of the oldest and finest in the depart-
ment ; its portal is an assemblage of round arches
and round columns, with sculptured romanesque
capitals, forming a triple colonnade of great mag-
nificence. Then on to Chateau-Neuf, also on the
THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. 219
ricrbt bank of the Loire, where there was then a line
chateau, whose remains are still to be seen ; and to
Sully, an old castle overhanging the river on the
left bank. The English, when they invaded the
Orleanais, in 1428, spared Sully, the lordship of
La Tremouille, a fact which gave colour to the
rumour that La Tremouille was bribed to keep
the kins: in a state of inaction. But this condi-
tion coincided too well with the natural disposi-
tion of Charles ' the Victorious ' to have required
The contagious fervour of the army and the
devotion of the Maid at first fired even Charles.
It was decided that the troops should come from
Orleans to Gien, where the king would join them
from Sully, which is about ten miles from Gien.
Jeanne, who never spared her labour, and who made
light of exertion, returned to Orleans, to prepare
everything for the march to Rheims. On Friday,
the 24th June, she left Orleans, and arrived at
Gien the same day (thirty-eight and a half miles),
so eager were the troops, so devoted the Maid.
But the wranglings at court Avere by no means
at an end ; and, at length exasperated, Jeanne
left the town on the 2Tth, and went out to dwell
in the camp with the troops.
This decisive measure made the sluggards
move, and on the 29th of June (St. Peter's Day),
the cavalcade set out for Rheims. All now was
joy, the clang and stir of progress. They were
moving towards achievement, as they rode for-
ward in the brisk air of the common-land, odor-
220 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'AUC. ■
OQS with thyme and the genista, trampling the
flame-crest of the Plan tagenets, glimpsing among
the openings of the pine and birch-forests, the
broad, blue distance of their own reviving coun-
try, girt by the silver ribbon of the Loire : the
evening ride lighted by innumerable sparkle of
fireflies and all the ' argent luxuries ' of night,
the moon soaring ' passionately bright ' above.
Even to-day there is not, across the wild coun-
try of Puisaye, any direct communication be-
tween Gien and Auxerre ; the difiicult bridle-
paths by Avhich Jeanne had made her way in
coming to the court, would have been impractic-
able for a cavalcade. 'The king and Jeanne
would probably,' says Walion, ' have taken the
only high-road known to have existed in the
middle-ages, the Orleans and Auxerre road pass-
ing by Perrigny, Fleury, Laduz, SenaD, Scpaux,
Villefranche, gaining Montargis by Chateau Re-
nard.' Therefore he adds Montargis to Qui-
cherat's itinerary. Possibly the army may have
divided itself, and the main body may have taken
the main road ; but, as it seems proved by the
old chronicles that Jeanne herself took the path
by Briare, the royal party may be held certainly
to have followed the line of march sketched by
Quicherat, who says distinctly that they made
a feint of taking at first the road to Montargis,
so that it might be thought they were marching
upon Sens ; but they turned ofi* towards Auxerre.
Jeanne halted at Briare on their road to Auxerre
towards Rheims. The king followed her next day.
THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. 221
Jean Chartier says it was near Auxerre that
Jeanne d'Arc broke the sword of Fierbois on the
back of a 'fiUe perdue,' elsewhere he places the
breaking of the sword some time after Patay.
Lebrun says it was at Chateau Thierry ; Alencon,
an ocular witness, puts it at St. Denis. I follow
Alen9on. There is wide variation among the dif-
ferent historians in matters of detail, but all the
old chroniclers agree right well as to the principal
facts. The chain of evidence is sj^lendid.
They were not admitted at Auxerre, although
the time-serving towspeople did not absolutely
declare against Charles. Jeanne wished to take
the town, an act of vigour which would doubtless
have been successful, and saved much subsequent
trouble. But La Tremouille, who, it is supposed,
was bribed by the town, caused a truce to be
granted, the burgesses promising ultimately to
follow the example set them by Troyes, Chalons,
and Rheims. They also provisioned the army —
We are not told if Jeanne entered Auxerre on
this occasion ; perhaps she only looked up at
France's peculiar architectural pride, the great
wheel windows, from the camp at the distance,
whence the city looks its best. But the fine
neighbouring abbey of Pontigny may easily lay
claim to a visit from her, even if she did not
stay there during great part of the three days
that the king wasted before Auxerre. This abbey
is especially interesting to the English, from its
possessing the relics of St. Edmund of Canter-
222 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC,
bury, and having been the retreat of Thomas a
Becket, as well as from its great architectural
beauty. It is externally plain, which is a char-
acteristic of churches built by the Cistercian
order, and it is said to be the only perfect church
of that order remaining ; but its chevet of seven
small bays, lighted by tall, lancet windows, is
exquisitely beautiful. It is an unaltered build-
ing of the middle of the twelfth century, in the
severe Burgundian Gothic style.
On leavino; Auxerre, the kino; went to St. Floren-
tin, which Avas given up peaceably. From Pontigny
it is only six miles to St. Florentin, which lies
on the direct route from Auxerre to Troyes. It
stands at the junction of the Armance and
How fertile is this Burgundy, a glorious coun-
try ! This is about the highest north latitude
where maize can be grown to any advantage.
There is great richness in all the crops, besides the
famous vineyards, which of course are the chief
wealth of the province. The numbers of mag-
pies hereabout is a sore exercise to those Avho
know an adage or a superstition connected with
any and every unit of them. The country even
in winter- time here looks green, fresh, and pleas-
ingly varied ; especially delightful was it to an
army that had just marched through the dark-
ness of the then vast Forest of Morvan, which
even now supplies Paris with fuel, which is
transported dowm the Yonne and Seine in rafts
of faggots. Brinon-l'Archeveque and St. Phal
THE COnONATTON AT RHEIMS. 223
stand also in the chronicle of their route as halting-
places for refreshments.
This leisurely travelling was different to Jeanne's
former rapid ride. She had plenty of time to
look about her, for not till the 5th of July did
the royal army arrive before Troyes, then a larger
city than now, if one may judge by the decrease
in the population, now not quite twenty-six
thousand. In Henri IV.'s reign it numbered
sixty thousand. Here they likewise found the
gates shut against the king.
Jeanne had Avritten to the municipal authori-
ties the evening before, inviting them to submit
on pain of compulsion. They used insulting
expressions concerning the Maid. The resolu-
tions of the town were controlled by a garrison
of iive or six hundred English and Burgundians ;
but really the nobles of Troyes, as well as the
town, had too much to fear from Charles. ' Their
town had given the name to the famous treaty
of exhereditation, and was the first subscribed to
it.' This town did not even supply provisions to
the army in the business-like manner of Auxerre,
and the soldiers were thankful to find 2:reat
beanfields outside Troyes, providing them where-
with to thicken their soup. The price of pro-
visions was high as in famine times, and Charles's
purse was short. Fortunately there was abun-
dance of green wheat and young beans.
Friar Richard, an Augustine monk, famous for
his preaching, was anxious to see this inspired
Maid of Orleans, of whom he had heard so
224 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
much, but he only dared approach her under
shield of crossings and holy water. ' Approach
boldly/ said the Maid. ^I shall not fly away.'
Five days they waited more or less impatiently
for the town to capitulate, and the leaders were
for giving up the hope and retiring, when Jeanne,
who had asked leave to capture the town in her
own way, prepared for an assault, and took the
place by the mere appearance of being in earnest.
' Let them (the soldiers) only follow me and set
hands to the work, for God wills that w^e help
ourselves,' said Jeanne before Troyes.
The 'Edinburgh Review' says that the small
English garrison was overwhelmed at Troyes.
Morally overwhelmed, I presume, as there was
no bloodshed whatever on this occasion.
On the 10th of July the king entered Troyes
w^ith great pomp. Nine years before he had been
here deprived of his birthright, now he was a
king marching to his coronation. The garrison
wished to carry off their prisoners as they marched
out, as by treaty they were to carry away their
property ; but Jeanne would by no means permit
this form of traffic in human flesh, and the
prisoners were set free.
The Seine, dividing here into numerous branches,
adds much to the beauty of the situation of
Troyes; though seated in a plain, one's eyes are
not pained by the usual monotonous reach of a
level country. Above the brushwood clumps and
alder thickets the tall poplars and lofty cathedral
carry the eye upwards like the lines of a well-
THE CORONA TION AT RHEIMS. ' 225
composed picture ; the flying buttresses giving
diagonals like mountain slopes.
The description of a French town necessarily
begins with the cathedral, and, if I have seemed
to sow my book with churches, it is that there
are so many of these in France, all interesting
to the historian, if not delightful to the artist.
Cathedrals are to French scenery much what
trees are in an English landscape, what the sky
is to Italy, or the temples to Greece. The French
have always been great builders. A general view
of France must necessarily comprise a series of
architectural pictures. And if I dwell sometimes
longer than seems consistent with my purpose,
or in a way that seems irrelevant, on the con-
dition of the peasantry, it is because they were
especially Jeanne's brothers. The churches and
the peasantry are the survivals of the middle-
ages that she knew and fought for.
Troyes cathedral was begun in 1206, and con-
tinued steadily in building for more than three cen-
turies; hence it is a fine study for the architectural
historian and for him who compares a nation's
glory with its art. Fine art is seldom the out-
come of a nation's happiness, it symbolises rather
its aspirations and its hopes. Three centuries
of growing beauty were a fine school of architec-
tural criticism for the people of Troyes, while the
lesser churches would make the celebrity of a
lesser town. Troyes cathedral is more than
usual the history of the finest art of those three
centuries, which, if not dark, we have been until
1^26 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
lately accustomed to consider as twilighted ages.
The interior is full of forest-like perspectives ; the
roof, branched with Hemes, clustering into stars
in its vaulting, with a delightful variety of group-
ing, such as cannot be looked for in a one-idead
cathedral, although the one idea may be noblest
and carried highest. The tracery of the out-
side gives the deepest impression of a succession
of kings, and counts, and municipalities, each
wishing to offer of their finest an oblation to the
Almighty. It is of all cathedrals the most French
and most loyal in its emblems, this expression
culminating in the crown of fleur-de-lys at the
coping of the roofs ; the tracery is flamboyant to
that pitch of luxuriance whence the next step
is towards decay. It is like a handsome woman
who has just attained the zenith of her prime:
people will now begin to talk of how beautiful she
Troyes is full of ' bits ' of architectural interest
of a Prout-like character, timbered houses and
carvings, iron-work and unrestored mediasvalism ;
so that it bears the unprosperous aspect of an
old-fashioned town a good deal out of repair.
To many tastes, this makes it the more interest-
ing, and it is much the more instructive. It is
one of the few cities in France which did not
lose its ancient character in the Revolution ; it
is therefore worth the while of those who study
comparative history to visit it. Troyes was built
before the craze set in for well-drilled streets, and
before everybody was educated in precisely the
THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. '221
same way : built in ages of self-reliance, one of
the lost virtues which we are always talking
about but never see.
From Troyes the army moved on to Chalons
by way of Arcis-sur-Aube and Bussy Littre, where
we know Jeanne to have stopped on the 14th
of July. Vitry-le-Francois is also said to have
been on their route ; if so, this town must have
come before Bussy Littre. Vitry-la-Ville would
have been less of a circuit, and they might have
taken this small town en zigzag between Bussy
Littre and Chalons.
They now came in sight of the spires of Chalons
and the prettily- wooded borders of the Marne.
At Chalons the army was submissively met by
the notables, who had heard of the surrender of
Troyes, and saw how the tide was setting. Here
Jeanne had the joy of meeting folks from Dom-
remy, her own kith, Jean Morel and Gerardin
d'Epinal, formerly a Burgundian in politics. Here
all were friends, for a home-friend is loved, what-
ever his persuasion. Affection prevailed over
astonishment at her celebrity, and greatness had
not made her proud. They had long, familiar
talk of people and of places, rekindling the em-
bers of old associations, and to Gerardin (whose
child she had held at the font) she confided that
she feared but one thing — treachery. This glimpse
shows us Jeanne's really lonely condition amidst
all her triumph, how the heart ached for sym-
pathy under the rich velvet robe ; for she now
went splendidly arrayed : this was part of the
228 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
king's pomp, and also it was politic, or held so,
to enhance her consideration with the soldiery,
who judge so much by outward appearance. Her
own woman's nature, too, rejoiced in beautiful
and becoming garments.
Chalons-sur-Marne contains few objects of inter-
est beyond the slender and many-pointed spires of
Notre Dame, and the less elegant, but more ancient
cathedral, which is of the heavier-columned roman-
esque type : one descends three steps to enter it.
The king and his army were lodged for the
night in the town, and next day they continued
their march, passing at six miles on the road the
elegant little church of St. Mary of the Thorn,
a miniature cathedral, commenced about 1329.
It boasts one of the very few open-work spires
in France. There are one or two of them in Nor-
mandy. Having so few, the French rather over-
rate them. Hazebrouck, near the Belgian frontier,
has another of these much-cried-up spires ; well
enough, certainly, but without novelty for us. T
once walked eleven miles to look at it ; I would
not do it again.
St. Mary of the Thorn was built by an English-
man named Patrick. He worked here about 1419,
so that the church was exquisitely new when Jeanne
passed by. It was begun a century earlier, and
not finished till a century later; many lives
were thrown into its building, but Patrick was
the principal architect. Jeanne's friends from
Domremy rode with her, doubtless, as we meet
them again at Rheims,
THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. 229
An old MS. chronicle of the reign of Charles
VIL, from 1422 to 1429, describes this part of
Charles' journey. The spelling is modernised
somewhat. ' Charles left Troyes, and took the
road to Chalons, in Champagne. La Pucelle
tousiours devant armee de toutes pieces ' (I won-
der Charles Avas not ashamed to be behind a
woman) ' et chevaucha tant qu'il vint devant
Chalons. De Chalons il reprit le chemin pour
aller a Rheims, et vint en Chastel nomme Sepe-
saulx, a quatre lieues de Rheims. Apres diner
sur le soir entra le Roy, lui et ses gens dans la
ville, ou Jeanne la Pucelle etait fort regardee, et
la vinrent les Dues de Bar et Lorraine ' (was it
not all one duke ?) ' et le Seigneur de Commercy
bien accompagnez de gens de guerre, eux oifrans
son service. Le lendemain, qui fut le Dimanche,
on ordonna que le Roy prendrait ou recevrait
son digne Sacre, et toute la nuit fit-on diligence
que tout fut prest au matin, et fut un cas bien
merveilleux ; car on trouva dans la Cite toutes
choses necessaires — le 17 Juillet, 1429, par les
mains de I'archeveque Renaud de Chartres.'
(' The Maid, always in front in complete armour,
rode before him to Chalons. From Chalons he
regained the road to go to Rheims, and came to
a castle called Sepesaulx, four leagues from
Rheims. After dinner in the evening, the king
and his people entered the town, where Jeanne
the Maid was much gazed at, and there came the
Dukes of Bar and Lorraine and the Lord of Com-
mercy, well accompanied by men-at-arms, offering
230 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
their service. The next day. which was Sunday,
they ordered that the king should take or re-
ceive his worthy anointing, and they were dili-
gent all night to have everything ready by the
morning, this being a very extraordinary case ;
they found in the city everything that was neces-
sary — the 17th July, 1429, by the hands of the
Archbishop Renaud de Chartres.')
The sun w^as setting behind the full-leafecl trees
and purple hills of the vale of Saulx, the young
Marne glancing under the crescent moonlight from
among her sedgy marshes, alder tufts, and aspens ;
the same Marne that Jeanne knew so well as flow-
ing through her own Vosges hills. Jeanne's heart,
softened at the sight of her friends at Chalons, was
touched anew by the sight of this familiar object.
Nothing in Nature speaks to one so feelingly as
does a river ; especially one's own beloved river.
While Charles received the deputies of Rheims at
Septsaulx, a castle belonging to the Archbishop of
Rheims, Jeanne rode out seeking a place for
the cavalcade to ford the river. She may have
ridden to Wez-Thuisy to pioneer the path. Any
way, we are told that she followed straight up
the Vesle from Septsaulx to Sillery. The land-
scape by these villages must have reminded her
of home. It was no longer the superb Loire
breaking its way among the detritus like an army
through the country Avhich it ravages, but a clear
green river peeping among leaves and woods,
tenderly nurturing the juicy ground. The even-
ing grew softer and lovelier at each minute, until
THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. 231
the mist, rising from the marshes (beyond the
present canal-bridge), veiled the foreground, mak-
ing more deeply purple the vineyards on the hill
slopes. Some of the sweetest views paint them-
selves on the memory in colour, and this is one
of them ; one can conjure up the purples and the
russet brown. Some scenes are remembered best
in light and shade.
The villao^es hereabout are built of sun-dried
bricks, and there are fields of wheat and clover.
At Sillery itself, the land of sparkling wines,
there are no near vineyards ; they all lie on the
slopes beyond the plain. From here there is a
near cut into Rheims, pleasanter than the high-
road or the rail, through the long straggling vil-
lage of Taissy. This road by the Vesle is pretty, and
gracefully embowered in its hedgerows, a delight-
ful path to travel on. It joins the high-road near
the caves of Goulet, the wine manufacturer, and
one enters Rheims by way of the fine abbey-
church of St. Remi.
' St. Remi is the exception to the assertion that
nothing remains of the round Gothic style within
the limits of central France, of which Metz, Paris,
Soissons, and Orleans are the capitals. It has
been much altered ; it nevertheless retains the
outlines of a vast and noble basilica of the early
part of the eleventh century.'
Even in archiepiscopal Rheims St. Remi's abbey
commands especial attention ; it is a fine link of
the chain which connects Roman antiquity with
our day. Clovis and Clotilda founded this church.
232 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
It has the romanesque, or rather. Norman, char-
acter in its towers and elsewhere. In the chancel
stand the fine elaborate Flemish-Italian tomb of
St. Remi, and a rich silver chasse of relics.
Although Chatillon, the governor of Rheims,
was an obstinate Burgundian, yet Jeanne declared
they would enter without drawing the sword.
Indeed, at the news of the approach of the French,
the Remois showed such disposition that Chatillon
quitted the place.
Jeanne had fulfilled her word, and brought her
king in triumph to this city, where the kings of
France are always crowned. This was the 16th
of July. Five months ago she had left Dom-
remy an obscure peasant ; now civilized Europe
rang with her fame, and here, close by the crown-
ing scene of triumph, at the inn of L'Ane Raye,
now La Maison Rouge, Jeanne was folded in the
arms of her father. What a moment for both !
L'Ane Raye (Zebra) has been altered, though
it is still an old-fashioned inn. It must then have
resembled those numerous wooden-fronted, over-
hanging houses which still exist near the markets
at Rheims, carved with Crusaders, foliage, and
quaint animals (one a dog, or a lion, having its
mouth wrenched open). L'Ane Raye, where
Jacques d'Arc lodged, was kept by a widow, Alix
Morian. The bill, amounting to twenty-four
livres Parisis, was paid by the king. This inn
was within a bow-shot of the archiepiscopal palace
where Charles stayed, and where Jeanne herself
was lodged. This is now a plain renaissance
THE CORONATION AT HHEIMS. 233
building, but i-t contains some internal arrange-
ments of early date, a fine hall of the twelfth
century, used for the banquet, and an elegant
chapel with a Gothic crypt. Noel ! Noel ! re-
sounded on all sides, and the hammering and
noise of workmen. People were too busy or ex-
cited to sleep much on that Saturday night. The
cathedral must have reminded Jeanne of Toul,
her first cathedral, and she had seen so many
since then. But this was a glorified Toul.
This city, where trams now run, and which
reminds one of Brussels in its brilliant gas and
electric lighting, has revived again after its mel-
ancholy appearance when occupied by Prussian
troops after the Franco-Prussian war. It is gay
as its own flower-market, which is an ever-shifting
scene of bright blossoming begonias, pinkdracasnas,
and things most sweet and pretty — gay now as
in Jeanne's time, when Rheims was bent on wel-
coming her king. The busy market-place was
bright with colours, even as it is at this day, when
we still see eager faces bending over the heaps of
various fruits or stufi^s and housekeeper's gear of
every kind, shaded with blue or striped umbrellas,
selecting just such artichokes and vegetables as I
saw to-day at the Saturday's market, each busy pur-
chaser a picture, with her gathering of comestibles
for to-morrow and to-day. One lady struggling
with a dozen lithe live black crawfish, others choos-
ing among the great barnacled lobsters with their
feelers all moving; women with frilled caps carrying
live poultry, and fashionably-dressed young ladies
284 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
carrying fancy baskets garnished with parsley and
carrots, pretty as a beau-pot.
It was more solemn in the cathedral square, in
1429, for all the Avorkmen, with their scafFold-poles
and the striped baudekin cloth for the procession ;
the church dwarfs such objects to insignificance.
There it stood, as now, the mighty cathedral
warm with the golden light of evening, the sun
smiting with starry blaze the outside of the great
rose- window above the door, with its inscription,
DEO OPTIMO MAXIMO. The workmen were
busy draping the entrance with crimson cloth, the
pigeons, wheeling about the lofty, slender-shafted
toAvers, sought their nests in the shrine-work
canopies of the kings above the higher great
The clouds rolled back behind the building,
the dangers were past, the sunshine was in front,
the work was achieved ; now came the crown of
glory, deathless fame. The cathedral flushed into
the rose light of peace, and repose for France for
four hundred years was gained at the price of
martyrdom for Jeanne the Maid. The rich calm
evening light rested on the warm, golden-toned
sculptures of Notre Dame of Rheims.
The grey deepened, the rose-hue became fainter
and more lurid as the cathedral stood out cold,
with but a faint flush on the grey masonr}^ : sha-
dows from the opposite houses stretching up and
up dimmed it from the ground, until an unearthly
sublimity of dying daylight rested on the great
niched archway of the western portal, now whitened
THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. 235
into a ghastly, corpse-like pallor, like fading
faith, upon the towers above. Death seemed to
set its seal upon the work.
The w^orknien were all trooping home to sup
and talk and rest awhile. There came an after-
oiow. The rays of the sun's last reflections
flashed blood-crimson on the rose-window above
the central door, as in memory of those who fell
in fight. The bloodshed was not wasted, the end
was gained. France was delivered. The bells
rang out a last joyous peal, the cooing of the
doves ' died away in ardent mutterings,' and the
city was wrapped in peace and thanksgiving.
It was lovely to Jeanne d'Arc to think of sleep-
ing under the shadow of this saintly thing, the
scene of so much royal splendour and worship.
It was the culmination of her life's hope. But
could she sleep ? I doubt it.
The young moon shines with Dian's own cres-
cent of pure light, the Pleiades shed their sweet
influence over the archiepiscopal palace where
Jeanne dwells — Jeanne, the church's vassal. She
owed obedience to the chancellor, Archbishop of
Rheims, being a daughter of Domremy, Dompnus
, Remigius. Charles Martel's Wain, that we call
the Great Bear, beams on the further side of the
cathedral. Sleep, Jeanne, if it be possible, sleep
on ; but — your work is not yet finished. You
have led your king to his earthly crown, your
crown awaits you in glory.
That evening and busy night were spent in
preparation for the anointing which was to take
236 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'AHC.
place on the morrow, Sunday, July 17th, and the
city was early astir. Besides the nine heavy
strokes of the bells, which toll at intervals for the
offices, there was all night the noise and bustle of
relays of workmen. The sun rose crimson over
the archiepiscopal palace, pouring its blessing on
the head of the sovereign. Too fair a sunrise
for the Maid, so ominous as morning red. The
bell tolls loud again for early service, a troop
of military, horse and foot, winds its way by the
north side of the cathedral with fanfarons and
drums. The pigeons are whirling about look-
ing after their morning meal. The cortege of
priests and high lay functionaries is gone in
procession to the Abbey of St. Remi to fetch
the Sainte Ampoule.
Under their escort, the abbot, in full pontificals,
carried it in solemn procession as far as the
church of St. Denis, where the Archbishop of
Rheims, at the head of the chapter, took it from his
hands to place it on the high altar of the cathedral,
under oath to return it safely to the abbey. At
the foot of the altar stood the king, now knighted
by the Duke of Alen9on, surrounded by the
proxies or representatives of the twelve peers of
the realm, six lay and six ecclesiastic, and sup-
ported by his vassals and foreign nobles, headed
by Rene, Duke of Bar and Lorraine, brother of
the Queen of France.
All was fulfilled according to ancient prescrip-
tion, but there was one in attendance at the high
altar concerning whose office there was no tra-
THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. 237
dition, standing like an angelic presence at the
kino-'s side : the Maid of Orleans holdins^ her
banner, which she said had shared the dangers,
and now justly shared the glory. She was full
of emotion. Perhaps in all that assembly no
heart was so thankful as hers. Hear the old
'Et y estoit Jeanne la Pucelle tenant son
estendard en sa main, laquelle en effet estoit cause
dudit Sacre et Couronnement et de toute I'Assem-
blee. Si fut rapportee et conduite ladite Saincte
AmpouUe par les dessus dits jusques en ladite
Abbaye ; et que eust veu ladite Pucelle accoler le
Roy a genoulx par les jambes, et baiser le pied
pleurant a chaudes larmes, en eust en pitie, et
elle prouoquoit plusieurs a pleurer, en disant,
" Gentil Roy, ores est execute le plaisir de Dieu
qui vouloit que vinssiez a Rheims recevoir vostre
digne Sacre en monstrant que vous estes vray
Roy, et celuy auquel le Royaulme doibt appar-
tenir." ' (' And there was Jeanne the Maid holding
her standard in her hand, who in fact was the cause
of the said Anointing and Crowning and of all the
Assembly. And made to be brought and carried
back the Holy Anointing Oil by the above-men-
tioned as far as the said Abbey ; and the said Maid
came and on her knees embraced the King by the
legs, and kissed his feet, weeping hot tears, touch-
ing to behold, and she provoked many to tears
by saying, " Fair King, now is executed the pleas-
ure of God who willed that you should come to
Rheims to receive your just Anointing, showing
238 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
that you are true King, and he to whom the
Kingdom ought to belong." ') She calls him king
now and no longer dauphin.
The whole religion and bravery of France was
for the moment personified in this young girl. The
bells rang out proclaiming to the whole city and
the country round the fact of the coronation and
her great deed.
The bells chimed, those bells among which she
heard her Voices clearest, loudest, best. In the
choral anthem of oblation, 2:rand soundino: as the
trumpet bursts of Spanish organs, her fervid emo-
tional piety realised the passionate longing of her
youth to serve her country and her God.
The service proceeds with quiring voices and
organ peals, and solemn tones are drawn from the
great bass-viols near the lectern. A priestly
voice requires the coronation oath. The sun
streams in from the jewelled clerestory windows
on to the pavement, and the wondering people
weeping for jo)^ The trumpets sounded ^ a faire
fendre les murs de la cathedrale.'
The dazzling gleam from the clerestory en-
hances the intense depth of shade, clear shade,
not blackness, in the roofs and upper parts of the
church, which is one of the first things that strikes
the stranger on entering Rheims cathedral.
Tapestries line the aisles behind the tall cruci-
form piers, each formed of a central shaft and four
slender columns clustered round it. These ancient
tapestries are delightfully harmonious, draping
the walls with a soft green and red sumptuous-
THE CORONATION AT REETMS. 239
ness of aged, but not faded, colour. They illustrate
biblical scenes from the creation onwards. Two
pieces representing the Annunciation are especi-
ally fine ; in one the Virgin is weaving a band of
coloured tissue, richly patterned ; in the companion
tapestry she is reading, while a company of angels
descend and encompass her with their wings.
Pheasants, partridges, flowers, hares, dogs, &c.,
are wrought in labyrinthine elaboration of design
round the inscriptions on the lower borders of the
tapestries. Two larger and more ancient tapestries
at the western end of the church clothe the wall from
the floor to the lofty triforium. These are more
faded, and the design is almost too intricate to be
decipherable, but they are evidently legends of
the kings of France. In one that seems to be the
legend of chasing the hind, there are the Frankish
banners, emblazoned with three frogs. The other
depicts St. Remi crowning Clovis. These dimmer
hues of green and brown, and ancient grey, enhance
the bright but delicate colours of the high-raised
eastern window, which is divided from the still
more aerial windows and light shafts of the
vaulted Lady Chapel by the dark belt of the tri-
forium gallery, in which the sculptures and
columns stand out as a deep grey patterning on a
ground of brown, so deepened as to be almost black.
The sarcophagus of Jovinus, Roman prefect of
Rheims, takes one back still earlier into the morn-
ing of French history. This monument memorialises
the defeat of the Alemanni in the 4th centurv. The
tomb is of white marble, sculptured in bas-relief.
240 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ABC.
Another exquisite effect of light and colour
occurs at the west end, where the great wheel-
window is all crimson, purple, and other jew-
elled colours ; below this is a range of saints
and kings pictured in glorious light, for the new-
crowned king to follow, if he will, to an eternity
of glory : the lighted western wall, niched all
over with saints and ancestors of his, culmi-
nates in a focus of ideal beauty formed by the
central ogival arch with its lesser wheel-window
filled with softened blue and fainter pinks, paler,
quainter, and more delicate, if less superb, than
the coloured splendour above.
The north side columns are all in lisfht, flooded
with rays from the southern windows.
The spectators of Charles VII.'s coronation
standing on the steps in the chevet behind the high
altar rails, must have seen from here the rays fall-
ing from the south upon the beautiful enthusiastic
face of the Maid of Orleans as she stood beside her
king ; the flood of illumination filling all the
scene, the rays falling especially on these two :
the centre of that sumptuous assemblage of all
that was most dazzling in France. Below the range
of tall candlesticks at the foot of the high altar,
amid the heralds, nobles, and foreign magnates, the
banners, trumpets, and insignia, was held in place
of honour that sacred banner which ^ shared the
dangers ' of the war. Above these glancing forms
rose the shaded colour of the clerestory and tri-
forium arches, the blue-grey gloom in the lofty
roof and the dim unillumined window above the
THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. 241
The sacred pageant is acted out ; at last rever-
berate the fugal ' Amen ' intricacies, and echoing
vocal music from more distant clergy, and a hearty
cheer from the loyal crowd outside ; the silver
voice of the saintly youth of France, in white
dalmatics, and the rough-voiced people hail their
consecrated king ; then nothing is left but the
antiphonal chanting of the priests, for the pro-
cession has swept in lordly fashion down the aisle,
and the flood of brilliancy streams out of the
great west door, into the dazzling blaze of outer
day, scattering largesse ; the trumpets blare, the
bells chime themselves to frenzy, and these things
have passed into history, noAV perhaps never to
be seen again.
Over all Time's changes the cathedral exists
benign, serene, shedding a holy influence upon the
city. Careless of the pomp of kings, the pigeons coo
among the sculptures outside, building their nests
in the very bodies of the monstrous gurgoyles, in
the huge leaden bull's head and the Behemoth,
its fellow, and all the other sculptures which
constituted the free libraries of those earlier days
before these things were writ in light and colour
on the jewelled glass. And Jeanne had now read
all these sermons in stones.
Fergusson says, ' The painted-glass style is a
truer name ' (for the finest period of Gothic archi-
tecture) ' than the pointed-arch style. Painted
glass was the important formative principle of
Gothic architecture.' And further he adds,
' Here is the whole history of the Bible written
242 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
in hues of the rainbow by the earnest hand of
What glass was internally, sculpture was
' In a perfect cathedral of the thirteenth cen-
tury the buttresses, pinnacles, even the gurgoyles,
every coign of vantage tells its tale by some image
or representation of some living thing, giving
meaning and animation to the whole. The cathe-
dral thus became an immense collection of sculp-
tures, containing not only the history of the
world as then known and understood, but also
of an immense number of objects representing
the art and science of the middle-ages. Thus
the great cathedrals of Chartres and Rheims even
now contain some five thousand figures.' The
history of the world, its creation and redemption,
are told, so Fergusson says, ' with a distinctness
and at the same time with an earnestness almost
impossible to surpass. The statues of the kings
of France and other potentates carry on the
thread of profane history to the period of the
erection of the cathedral itself Interspersed
with these, a whole system of moral philosophy
as illustrated by the virtues and the vices, each
represented by an appropriate symbol, and the
reward or punishment its invariable accompani-
ment. In other parts are shown all the arts of
peace, every process of husbandry in its appro-
priate season, and each manufacture or handicraft
in all its principal forms. Over all these are seen
the heavenly hosts, with saints, angels, and arch-
THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. 243
angels. All this is so harmoniously contrived
and so beautifully expressed that it becomes a
question even now whether the sculpture of these
cathedrals does not exceed the architecture.'
Thus ornament was not without its meaning,
which the unlettered poor could read as clearly
as the learned could read Dante or the Fathers.
The fli2)pant mind of our day cannot endure
these things, it prefers pseudo-science, or, still
more, the smart levity of the weekly press. We
have given our people cheap newspapers and an
unreadable art. ' In the middle-ages the sculp-
ture, the painting, the music of the people were
all found in the cathedrals, and there only.' With
all our resources, we have hardly surpassed their
arts, if indeed we have approached them.
The importance of these things is why the
churches and cathedrals figure so abundantly
throughout mediaeval history. These were the
crystallised facts of the time, the rest were the
passing phantasmagoria bounded by each man's
little life. The stones remain memorials of
their soul-poAver to our day. Man's faith lifted
him above himself, and he is immortalised in his
work ; not by name always, but collectively with
the body of working saints.
The pageantry of kings and courts is soon
forgotten like last year's flowers, but the memory
of Jeanne d' Arc lives for ever. She had performed
her promises to Charles, and for the reward he
offered she asked that her birthplace should be for
ever exempt from taxation. This would cheer
244 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
her poor people, for Domremy and Greux were
charged with many dues to the crown of France.
The news of this would be taken back by her
father after the coronation, sealing her forgive-
ness for having left her parents against their
will, recognising a higher authority, loving God
more than father or mother, as her Master did.
She did not love her parents less than others do,
but more, according to the deep capacity of her
nature. Other daus^hters leave theirs for a hus-
band, Jeanne only quitted hers at the call of her
Redeemer. Her request was not much to grant,
and Charles truly had not much to give ; his
successors, who shared the benefit, would share
this payment with him.
It seems certain that Jeanne also made the request
now to be permitted to return to her village home.
Villaret, in his ' History of France,' says she im-
plored to be let return home from Rheims. ' Mon
fait,' said Jeanne, ' n'etaitqu'un ministere,' and this
was over. All tradition agrees upon this point,
though modern writers question it, and Martin,
having a theory to support, denies it. The sight
of her father caused a great longing to surge up
in her breast to see all Avho were dear to her at
home. Her kind uncle, Durand Laxart, too, was
at Rheims, for we hear that Charles encouraged
him to tell him over and again, in his homely way,
the tale of his niece's journeys to Vaucouleurs.
Doubtless Jeanne felt it would be sweet to return
in all her fame to her people, to rest after her
labours and live in peace with her honoured.
THE CO ROTATION AT RHEIMS. 245
though not yet ennobled family. That came
later — in November. She had seen the vanity of
courtly life, and could not reconcile herself to live
at court. But Charles would not consent to part
with his best weapon, he could not spare her
who was worth an army to him. Besides, the
coronation was far from being the term of the
enterprise; it seemed now but the point of
departure for the conquest. The crown was the
earnest of the kin2:dom. So Jeanne remained
obedient to her king.
Amidst all this splendour and the adulation she
received, she retained her simplicity and purity of
manners. In the letter of three gentlemen of
i\njou to Queen Yolande, written on the day of
the consecration, they say, ' It was a fine thing to
see the beautiful manners of the king and also of
the Maid.' She was no mystic, her disposition
was full of spirit and vivacity. She arrogated to
herself no exclusive powers. The thing most
miraculous about her was her skill in war, where
her disposition of her pieces of artillery was
especially admired ; but even this extraordinary
quality was considerably due to keen sight, and a
clear perception of what she meant to do pointed
out the best way to do it ; while she was cool and
self-possessed in battle, feeling herself only an
instrument in the hand of God. • Yet she was no
blind instrument. It is a fatal mistake to suppose
that the Lord wishes a blind obedience. St. Paul
says, ' I will pray with the understanding also.'
' More light and fuller,' is our want.
24:6 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
The great lesson her story reads to women in
modern times is the true influence of womanhood.
To us her purifying of the camp, and her testimony
to the excellence of virtue in a licentious age, speak
of the noblest warfare of all. How good and up-
right must have been her own conduct when men
dared not blaspheme in her presence, nor behave
amiss ; not even the envious could slander her ;
no man impeached her life. Yet she was only a
poor village maiden, no high-born dame for
chivalry to worship. Frank and open in speech,
she w^as not presumptuous, though when she had
won a certain rank and position she kept it with-
out mock modesty.
' No longer on Saint Denis will we cry,
But Joan la Pucelle shall be France's saint ;
Come in, and let us banquet royally,
After this golden day of victory.'
THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS.
On lui demanda ce qu'elle airaait le plus, de sa banniere ou de
son epee. ' J'aime quarante fois plus la banniere que Tepee.' Elle
ajouta qu'elle portait sa banniere quand elle chargeait I'ennemi, pour
eviter de tuer personne. ' Et je n'ai jamais tue personne,' dit elle.
(They asked her which she loved most, her banner or her sword. ' I
love forty times more the banner than the sword.' She added that
she carried her banner when she charged the enemy, to avoid killing
anyone. ' And I have never killed anyone,' she said.)
They wrote the details of these events to the
queen and to her mother, the queen-dowager of
Sicily ; and, the coronation accomplished, the Maid
and all the king's well-wishers desired that he
would at once advance to claim his capital.
Jeanne's task was performed, the king's efforts
should now begin ; but the slothful sovereign, who
dreaded the daily duties of government, forced
the conquest into her hands to complete, while he
sought only the pleasures of royalty. Who could
expect God to help him who would not help him-
self? He might as well have held a distaff as a
sceptre. Bedford fully expected him at once to
enter Paris, where he might have ' walked over
the course ;' but he loitered in Champagne, seek-
ing pleasure. Victor Hugo— in 'Notre Dame de
250 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
Paris ' — speaks of a water-party whereat Guy
Vertaut, boatman's minstrel at Rheims, played
before King Charles VII. after his consecration,
when he descended the Vesle river from Sillery to
Muison, and Jeanne d'Arc was in the same boat.
Yet it seemed not impolitic to remain four days
at Rheims, receiving the homage of the great
province of Champagne and, avoiding all appear-
ance of haste and dread, performing all the cus-
toms of a newly- anointed sovereign. He went,
according to prescriptive usage, to the Abbey of
St. Marcoul, at Corbeny, not far from Laon, to
touch for the king's evil, leaving Rheims by the
Porte de Mars, one of the four ancient Roman
gates of which only this Porta Martis remains.
It stands in a hollow, age having sunk it deeply
in the ground, which has, however, been cleared
away from its base. On this side of Rheims there
are now well-planted boulevards and public-
gardens, and, what would be a valuable institution
in any town, a garden of instruction for horticul-
ture and viticulture. The views by the canal and
the Vesle river with its two bridsres are verv
pleasing. It is highly probable that during the
king's stay at St. Marcoul Jeanne d'Arc visited
the high-seated and extremely beautiful cathedral
at Laon, whose picturesque group of towers forms
the chief feature of the surrounding landscape,
but we have no record that she did so. The
royal cortege next proceeded to the little fortified
town of Vailly-sur-Aisne in the valley, where the
notables of Soissons and Laon brouofht him the
THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS.
keys of their towns. Jean Chartier says the
king and his ' ost ' came from St. Marco ul to a
town named Velli belonging to the Archbishop of
Rheims, where he lodged one day and sent
messengers to Laon. On the 23rd of July, he
went four leagues onward to Soissons, where he
received submissive deputations from Chateau
Thierry, Crecy-en-Brie, Coulommiers, and Pro-
vins. Nobles and people flocked to his standard,
or rather to the Maid's, for they saw that victory
followed her. Their road to Soissons was defend-
ed by the friendly castle of Coucy, then held
by Saintrailles for the captive Duke of Orleans,
but they did not turn aside northward from Anisy
to visit this famous feudal fortress.
Jeanne made everything ready for further con-
quests, for these easy submissions presented no
solid basis of strength to the sovereignty. The
English power had yet to be coped with, and that,
driven to bay in its strongholds in the north, was
a formidable obstacle to peace. The object was
to divide their force, and to bring back the Bur-
gundians to their allegiance. Jeanne took her
measures for the completion of the conquest. On
the very day of the coronation, she wrote to the
Duke of Burgundy beseeching him to make peace
with his own country. Shakespeare, who, against
his will, cannot help putting eloquence into the
mouth of the Pucelle, tells us how she pleaded
' Brave Burgundy, undoubted hope of France !
Stay, let thy humble handmaid speak to thee.'
252 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
Bur. — ' Speak on ; but be not over- tedious.'
PucELLE. — ' Look on thy country, look on fertile France,
And see the cities and the towns defaced
By wasting ruin of the cruel foe.
As looks the mother on her lowly babe
When death doth close his tender dying eyes,
See, see the pining malady of France ;
Behold the wounds, the most unnatural wounds.
Which thou thyself hast given her woful breast.
Oh, turn thy edged sword another way ;
Strike those that hurt, and hurt not those that help.
One drop of blood drawn from thy country's bosom
Should grieve thee more than streams of foreign gore ;
Return thee, therefore, with a flood of tears,
And wash away thy country's stained spots.'
BuK. — ' Either she hath bewitch'd me with her words.
Or Nature makes me suddenly relent.'
She then goes on diplomatically to show him how
the English will use him as a tool and then cast
him aside. This is poetry, not history, but tra-
dition and a good deal of historical truth besides
are embodied in Shakespeare.
Jeanne's clear business capacity was so marked
that, besides all the letter- writing and negotia-
tions being left to her to do, she had to manage
much or most of the business work of the cam-
paign : victualling the army, and such-like matters.
The military chest was in her hands, or rather in
that of her brothers, who held it in deposit for
her. The treasure was not large, according to
our ideas of the cost of warfare ; but we are told
later on that she held the sum of twelve thousand
crowns for the purpose of providing for her
troops. In these earlier and more prosperous
times with Charles's army the sum would have
been more considerable.
All, all was joy ; they were at length moving
THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 253
upon Paris. Leaving aside the temptation to
dally with easy conquests, the royal army again
swept to the southward, nearing Paris as if in-
tending gradually to hem in the capital. But
their progress was too slow for success. At first
it excited wonder and suspicion, next it allowed
the enemy a breathing space and time to recover
courage. The king, who arrived at Soissons on
the 23rd, made no further movement for nearly
a week, and did not reach Chateau Thierry till
the 29th, his people waiting, meanwhile, in battle
array, hoping the Duke of Bedford would fight
them. At vespers the place surrendered without
a blow, and the king lodged there till Monday the
1st of August.
Chatillon, the Burgundian governor of Rheims,
who had fled to Chateau Thierry, did not attempt
to hold the place a day after the king had made
up his mind to take it. Still the court seemed
disposed to linger, and, had Jeanne had much
historical knowledge, she must have drawn a
parallel, as she wandered impatient by the Marne
and looked up at the ancient castle, not then in
such a fragmentary condition as it is now, be-
tween this inactive Charles and young Thierry,
another of the faineant kings of France, for whom
Charles Martel built this castle. Jeanne, with
the five-crossed sword of Charles Martel in her
hand, must have longed to strike the blow which
the sovereign dared not deal nor look upon. I do
not pretend to write the political history of the
time, I only sketch the leading events in outline
254 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
as they bear upon Jeanne's journej^s. When one
has divested events of the policy and opinions
that surround them, their clothes or draperies,
there is little to be said but that a fact is a fact,
and that a lazy man lives according to his nature.
It seems as if the court cared more to soothe
Jeanne's impatience than to fulfil her wishes, for
from Chateau Thierry, on the 31st of July, is dated
the formal exemption from tax of Domremy and
Greux. Anything to delay a decisive movement.
This want of plan increased immensely the diffi-
culty of feeding and providing for the wants of
On the 1st of August the king went to Mont-
mirail (en Brie). This, though south-eastward, did
not appear a retrogade movement ; although no
nearer Paris, still they were moving in a circle
marching parallel with Paris. On Tuesday the 2nd
they recrossed the Marne and were well-received
at Provins, famous for its roses ; here they stayed
till Friday. This moving oiF at a tangent be-
trayed the secret wish and intention to return
towards the Loire and its luxurious castles. Most
historians blame La Tremouille exclusively for
these delays ; but viewing Charles's dilatory char-
acter as a whole, and remembering the trouble
Agnes Sorel took later on to make a man of him,
we may well believe the fault lay mainly with
the king himself: though La Tremouille readily
acquiesced in what suited his convenience. Charles
wanted to have the kingdom Avon, by war or by
treaty, he was indifferent which ; but his advisers
THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS.
were to conduct the negotiations, and he was not
to be troubled to fight the battles.
These strategic movements gave Bedford time
to look about him and assume the offensive. The
Cardinal of Winchester's men, collected for a
crusade, were eager to take the field against the
'sorceress.' On the 4th of August, Bedford, his
own recruits reinforced by this impetuous band,
advanced to Melun by way of Corbeil, and seemed
likely to cut off the king's retreat towards the
south. The royal army abruptly left Provins on
Friday the 5th, and went westward as far as the
chateau of La Motte-de-Nangis (en Brie) to meet
them ; but seeing no one, and hearing that Bed-
ford had returned to Paris, the king again took
the road towards the Loire. Bedford thought it
more important to strengthen Paris than to pur-
sue that unusual object, a flying conqueror.
Tlie courtiers had already found the campaign
long enough ; but they had to return, neverthe-
less^ for Avhen Charles came to the bridge of Bray,
where he intended crossing the Seine, he was
again foiled by his own dilatoriness. The people
of Bray appeared submissive, and the king put
off crossing the river till the next day. The in-
habitants of Bray had promised to surrender their
town to the king, but they did not keep their
word ; they let a detachment of English enter
during the night, who occupied the town, and
intercepted the passage of the Seine, and the
courtiers did not care to fight their way. This
incident rejoiced the Maid and the leaders of the
256 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
royal army, who were very bitter at seeing their
hopes of victory so recklessly flung aside. So
they had to return to the plan of the Maid, who
dates her reassuring letter to Rheiras, ' d'un logis
sur champ, au chemin de Paris.' The king took
the northward road by Provins, and on Sunday,
7th August, he dined, supped, and slept at Cou-
lommiers en Brie. We hear a good deal in the
old chronicles of where he did these important
things ; the diarists have so little else to tell. It
reads like the ' Court Circular.' Narrowing his
spiral round Paris, on the 10th the king was at
Ferte-Milon ; on the 11th at Crepy-en-Valois ; on
Friday, the 12th, he slept at Lagny-le-Sec ; on
Saturday the army encamped all day near Dau-
martin-en-Gonelle — easy journeys all, and the
king was keeping an army week after week in the
field, incurring all the expense of a campaign,
and putting it to no profit.
While the king thus went from Rheims to
Daumartin, the Maid made much diligence to
reduce many places to obedience. ' Many places
were by her made French ' (faictes Fran9oises).
She seems to have been everywhere, carrying
victory in her hand.
An anecdote related by Dunois gives us a few^
pleasant lights on the attitude of the army and
the people towards Jeanne. When riding from
La Ferte to Crepy-en-Valois, as the people ran
towards them, crying, ' Noel !' Jeanne, who was
riding on horseback between the Archbishop of
Rheims and Dunois himself, exclaimed
THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS.
' What good people ! I have never seen people
so much rejoiced at the arrival of so noble a
prince. Ah, might I be ha|)py enough to end
my days and be buried in this earth !'
' Oh, Jeanne,' said the archbishop, ' in what
place do you believe you shall die ?'
^ Where it shall please God,' she replied, ^for I
am not assured of the time and place more than
yourself. And I would that it pleased God, my
Maker, that I might return now, quitting my
arms, and go back to serve my father and mother
by keeping their herds with my brothers and
sister, who would, be rejoiced to see me.'
Crepy-en-Valois is set in a country of alter-
nately plain and wooded undulations, with no
great interest or beauty save that of calm. It is
only famous besides for the peace of Crepy be-
tween Henry VIII. (of England) and Charles V.,
1544. The vegetation, seen by eyes that have
lately viewed the richer central France, has lost
its southern character with the vines and acacias,
the growth is fresh and sweet, but it seems a
shade darker than in the regions by the Loire.
Murray does not even mention Crepy. No tourist
goes there, yet there are some things to be seen.
Entering by a pair of handsome Renaissance
entrance-gate pillars without gates, one passes
through this old-world, old-fashioned town, which
reminds one of the most retired and least visited
of the Belgian towns. ' The very houses seem
There are traces of long bygone days about
258 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
many of the buildings, and bits of old arches left
in the walls of dwelling-houses, giving the idea of
town-halls converted to domestic uses. There is
the old bell-tower of St. Thomas, belonging to an
interesting ruin. It is part of the west front of a
former abbey-church, and what remains of an
old pierced and crocketed spire, strongly but-
tressed. Viewed towards the w^est front, one
sees a lancet light set in a large circle, with four
rosettes forming angles or spandrils. There are
eight quatrefoils below this circle, then two
more lancet windows and a rather small doorway
below between them. On walking round by the
north side towards the ruined east end, one per-
ceives that this tower was indeed one of two
western towers. The second has lost its spire
and upper storey, but it was formerly the richer
of the two. The nave of the building has disap-
peared. At the other end of the town there
are considerable remains, and nearly the whole of
the surrounding w^alls of the castle, a portion of
which is still inhabited. The walls are firmly
buttressed, but do not look impregnable to men
accustomed to Loches and Chinon, though a
slanting bastion wall at the lowest part of the
fortress, where the ground slo|)es off into the
fields, is a fine, strong, smooth-surfaced fortifica-
tion. The castle covers a wide extent of ground.
The poets Shakespeare and Schiller both create
an imaginary scene at this time of the Duke of
Burgundy falling repentani: at his sovereign's
feet ; it is pretty, but less astonishing than the
THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS.
truth that he did nothmg of the kind, but only
coquetted with his sense of patriotism.
What made Charles so difficult to deal with
Avas his indecision, a fault less common then than
in our days, when the complexity of civilization
renders decisiveness more difficult and more rare.
It has been said of highly-educated persons, ' You
cannot get them to come to a decision. They
want always to inquire and to investigate, an^
they never come to a result.' They cannot see
with ' half an eye ;' they know too much about the
stereoscopic effect of binocular vision. Sir Arthur
Helps says, ' There is a great reason for thinking
that of all the qualities which are needful for the
wise conduct of human life, decisiveness is the one
which can least afford to lie dormant. It soon
dies away by inanition, if not exercised. More-
over, it is very questionable whether it can be
revived.' Indecision should be used as a weapon
when all others have failed : when nothing can be
done, wait ; a chance may turn up and point out
an opening — seize it swiftly.
The kino:'s indecision lost him his chance of
gaining his capital without a pitched battle.
Though Bedford was alarmed at the northward
movement, still he wrote in insulting terms to
Charles offering him battle. The king refrained
— of course — and Bedford returned to Paris for
reinforcements. Bedford had too much to lose ;
he could not afford to be rash. The party which
held Paris was virtually the sovereign of France,
and De Conmiines says Bedford resided at Paris
260 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'AUC.
as Regent of France, and had twenty thousand
crowns a month, at least, to support the grandeur
and dignity of his office. This income was drawn
from France, and the English side possessing it,
naturally made Charles so much the poorer.
Bedford took up his position beyond Senlis
on the evening of the 14th of August. After
some skirmishing the French drew up at the
village of Baron, near Montepilloy (Mont Espilloi
or Mont Piloer, as the old writers spell it),
about two leagues from Senlis, where the Maid
and the captains, and six or seven thousand com-
batants, were lodged at vespers under a hedge in
the fields. The church of Baron dates from the
thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries. It has one
of the rare pierced and crocketed spires. It is
supposed that in this church Jeanne took the
communion with the Dukes of Clermont and
The next day, notwithstanding it was the great
festival of the Assumption, the 15th of August,
the armies joined in battle; but the English,
numbering eight to ten thousand, remaining in-
trenched in their position, gave the action more
the aspect of a siege. The Maid could only pro-
voke them to several obstinate skirmishes. La
Tremouille himself showed much personal courage
in the fray, charging the enemy, lance in rest ;
but his horse fell and flung him among the Eng-
lish, from whence his friends extricated him with
difficulty. The king, seeing the English were
not to be driven from their intrenchments, return-
THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 261
ed that evening to Crepy. The Maid, the Duke
of Alencon, Dunois, La Hire, and their army
passed the night on the field of battle, a fact
which generally argues victory, but this engage-
ment decided nothing. Early next morning, to
try if the enemy, seeing them less numerous,
would venture to follow them, the French retired
to Montepilloy. The English only profited by
this movement to retreat at their ease. Towards
one o'clock the Maid was informed that they had
regained Senlis, and were marching towards Paris.
It was too late to follow them, so she rejoined the
king at Crepy.
If the numbers are correctly given by the old
historians, this indecisive action shows more than
anything else the terror the Maid's presence in-
spired in the enemy.
Compiegne and Beauvais received Charles's
heralds gladly, and at Beauvais the people sang
'Te Deuin lau damns ' to the great displeasure of
the Count-bishop Pierre Cauchon. The people
proclaimed that all who would not submit to King
Charles might go away and take their goods ; but
Cauchon could not carry oiF his county and
bishopric. He preserved his hatred, as Wallon
says. It was felt to the Maid's cost later. He
henceforth follows Jeanne like an evil genius,
sowing the tares of a cruel suspicion around her.
On the 17th, the king received the keys of
Compiegne, an important stronghold, whither he
went next day, and was received with effusion.
Here he also heard of the submission of Senlis.
262 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
Loyalty was closely hemming in the capital. It
seemed they had but to march thither. But this
entailed personal fatigue, the weather was hot,
and the courtiers felt they had a right to grum-
ble. Had not the indefatigable Maid insisted,
they would not even have ridden to Compiegne.
The fortified side of the town of Crepy slopes into
a narrow valley with dells formed of deep quarries.
Into this leafy vale the glittering cavalcade descend-
ed with their banners and bright armour ; Jeanne
in the centre of the troops, brilliant, alert, and in
dazzling array. They rode through the sylvan
country like a hunting-party, with all the bril-
liancy of war brought into festive relief. This
was the side of war that Charles loved best to
look upon, and it was necessary to coax him into
good humour. The aspect of this district between
the Aisne and the Oise is agreeably diversified, it
looks like the broad sweeps of landscape of golden
harvest meltins: off into blue distance that we see
in Vicat Cole's pictures. Forests spread away
deep into the blue, and the wooden crossbar-
fronted dwelling-houses are set in a jewellery of
flowers. They crossed the Aisne (by a ford?)
and arrived at Compiegne on the Oise after an
easy ride of about fifteen miles. Alas ! they were
still sixty miles away from Paris !
The bridge at Compiegne was then lower down
the river than it is now, but this makes little
difi^erence to the aspect of the town, whose Hotel
de Ville, with the effigy of a king on horseback,
like that at Blois Castle, and whose decorated
THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 263
Gothic church of St. Jacques, stand ahnost un-
altered since Charles's time, with the town gather-
ed on the hill around them. The bourg of Com-
piegne was enriched (manured) by inundations.
The most changed object is the chateau, which,
from having been a strong castle, is now a modern
palace built in the time and style of Louis XV.,
altered by the Napoleons for a hunting palace, with
a broad margin for state pageantry. These Louis
XIV. and XV. palaces lend themselves well to pomp.
With modern splendour of palatial frontage and
wide pavement, it has the modern inconveni-
ences of exposed, unbroken surface, biting bleak
in winter, fiercely hot in summer, with heat of
radiation from the flag-stones sufficient to cook
a dinner. This enhances the charm of that
modern revival of the most ancient luxury, a
garden, with long glades of grass surrounded by
woods fadino; off evanescent into the blue dis-
tance, wave upon wave of foliage, filled with an
orchestra of birds : forests beloved of French
monarchs from Clovis to Napoleon IIL
Here at Compiegne they saw return their own
ambassador to the Duke of Burgundy, soon fol-
lowed by an envoy from the duke himself. The
fifteen days' truce agreed upon before Burgundy
should cause Paris to be delivered to the kino:
was ending. Nobody had credited this promise,
however, and they now spoke of a general peace,
and prepared a truce to last till Christmas.
Meanwhile the Duke of Burgundy proposed to
receive Compiegne itself from the king, a town
261 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
which was justly regarded as the key of Picardy
on the Burgundian (Flemish) side. The Romans
called it Compendium, because they kept their
military stores there. But there came no sub-
mission from Paris.
The king remained five days at Compiegne
receiving the submission of all the neighbouring
towns. All Picardy was ready to join him.
Henry V. had been King of France, Henry VI.
seemed king only of the Isle of France. Charles
was flattered by the semblance of sovereignty,
but the hiofh-minded Maid reo:retted to see that
in receiving the submission of these lesser towns
he neglected the capital city, which was the
symbol of possession of the entire kingdom. So
long as Bedford held it, Henry was King of
France. She took a step on her own responsi-
bility to allure Charles from his false tranquillity.
She said to Alencon, ' Fair duke, make ready
your people and those of the other captains ; I
will see Paris from nearer than I have yet seen
it.' So on Tuesday, the 23rd of August (Lebrun
says the 22nd), the Maid and the Duke of Alencon
left Compiegne with a numerous following of men-
at-arms. As she was mounting her horse to set
out, a messenger brought her a letter from Jean,
Count of Armagnac, concerning the rival popes,
whose claims were then distracting the spiritual
world, and between whom he invited her to
judge. She dictated an answer at once— that is,
a letter was dictated ; but Jeanne did not recog-
nise it for hers at her trial. Most historians
THE ABBEY OF ST, DENIS. 265
agree that she deferred making any definite
answer till her return.
They gathered in passing part of the force
which was billeted at Senlis, where they stayed
two clear days, as we know from Albert d'Ourches,
who testifies that he saw her confess herself to
Friar Richard, the only man, it seems, who at-
tempted any contact with her mind, under the
walls of Senlis, those ancient pre-feudal walls
whose sixteen watch-towers show traces of Roman
construction. D'Ourches tells us she received
the Holy Communion on two consecutive days
with the Dukes of Clermont and Alen9on. She
who made such abundant claims on her spiritual
life could not work without this constant refresh-
ing, and of confession she says, ' One cannot too
much cleanse one's conscience.' (' On ne pent
trop nettoyer sa conscience.')
There is much of old-world interest in Senlis :
including many picturesque and curious houses and
the remains of the castle. Of the stately church of
Notre Dame, which is mainly of the twelfth cen-
tury, the most decorative portions are later than
Jeanne d'Arc's time, having been restored by
Louis XII. and Francis I. St. Frambourg, with
its fine lofty walls, was not then desecrated as a
building-shed, nor the rich, flamboyant church of
St. Pierre as a cavalrv stable. Senlis was then
closely surrounded by a forest. Several writers
mention the king giving Jeanne a second horse
at Senlis in September, but I cannot find that
they were at Senlis together at any time, and I
266 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
cannot help suspecting that this horse of Senlis
was the one that caused the dispute with the
Bishop of Senhs, that Avas brought up against
Jeanne at her trial : she sent the full payment to
the bishop for his hackney, which he declared
he never received.
On Friday, the 26th of August, the Maid with
her forces settled at St. Denis. The famous
abbey is not well seen from the road. The coun-
try alternates in plain and wooded undulations,
Avith no great interest, except what the mind
derives from knowledge of its situation and his-
tory ; or beauty, except where one comes upon
peeps of the Seine winding in deep bends among
the woodland slopes. The burgesses of St. Denis
delivered the town to Jeanne. ' She restored to
the royalty, in despite of the king, the toAvn of
royal tombs as well as the town of the anointing.'
Charles was obliged to join the army much
against his will, for fear of being left alone at
Compiegne. He came as far as Senlis, for at first
he dared not approach Paris nearer. But it was
not to attack Paris that he changed his quarters,
but to abandon Compiegne : he pawned it, or tried
to do so.
Bedford left Paris to secure Normandy, which
he feared might catch the infection of loyalty to
united France. Two thousand English were left
in Paris under a knight called Radley, and the
Burgundians under the command of LTsle Adam.
They fortified Paris morally and mechanically.
The Duke of Alencon's invitations to them to
THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 267
welcome the king were ill-received, and the French
army prepared to fight its entrance. The Maid
assisted at the skirmishes, and attentively examin-
ed the situation of Paris to see where to make the
assault, which was perforce deferred so long as
the kino; did not arrive with the remainder of the
troops. Their messages to the king receiving no
answer, the duke went himself to Senlis on the 2nd
of September ; and again, as his journey was fruit-
less, on the 5th : this time he so far prevailed
that the king put himself in marching order and
arrived on Wednesday, the 7th, in time to dine
at St. Denis. His arrival was welcomed like a
On the 6th, so soon as they w^ere certain that
the king meant to come, the troops went forward
and established themselves at La Chapelle, in the
dusty plain between St. Denis and Paris. But
the city had taken heart of resistance and
strengthened itself during the king's delay. On
the very day of his arrival, there was a sharp
skirmish. The Parisians were proud of holding
out against Charles's army, and ' that creature in
form of a woman who was with them, whom they
call the Maid. Who it was, God knoweth,' says
the old Bur2:ess of Paris.
But the most serious attempt took place on the
8th of September. They fought from morning
till night, the Maid leading the attack on the
Porte St. Honore. Jeanne Avas severely wounded
by a crossbow bolt. Still she remained at her post
helping to fill the ditch and cheering the soldiers
268 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
on to the walls, declaring that the place would be
' Once more to the breach, dear friends, once
She refused to leave even when the captains
suspended the attack. They removed her by
force, and put her on horseback to return to La
Chapelle. ' By my staff,' she cried, ' the place
might have been taken !' On that same side of
St. Honore, Rue du Rampart, nearly two hundred
years later, Henri Quatre established his victorious
camp before Paris.
Next morning she wished to return to the
charge, and internal divisions among the besieged
and the confidence of tiie assailants made the
taking of Paris appear a very likely result. But
as they approached the walls, messengers arrived
from the king inviting the Maid to desist, and
commanding the Duke of Alen9on and the other
leaders to retire.
They obeyed sadly, hoping however to return
by another road. There was one more chance to
take the city. The Duke of Alen^on had thrown
a bridge across the Seine where it winds so
deeply at St. Denis, thus bringing their camp
much nearer the capital. By this bridge they
might cross the river and attack the city at an
undefended point. The king said nothing on the
subject, and on the 10th of September very
early the Maid set out with the Duke of Alen^on
and the flower of the army to pass the Seine.
The bridge of St. Denis was gone ! The king
THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS, 269
had had it destroyed during the night. Exasper-
ating Charles ! And all the more so that our
English chroniclers say that Paris would have
given way had they continued the attack a
very little longer.
The king remained at St. Denis, performing
some of the ceremonials of royalty and causing
himself to be enthroned there. Jeanne hoped it
would have been like another Rheims to see King
Charles in his famous abbey church. Surely the
names and tombs of the heroes of his race and
their sunlit effigies emblazoned in coloured
splendour on the windows would awaken this
weak monarch to a sense of his belonging to that
This abbey, the burial-place of the kings of France
from the time of Dagobert, 638, has been called
one of the most sumptuous and gorgeous edifices
in the world. It was rebuilt in the romanesque
style by Abbe Suger in 1140-44, and this era of
the building comprises the fine east end of the
choir with its semicircle of chapels ; but it carries
its architectual history through many succeeding
ages, and perhaps the greatest portion of the
church belongs to the restorations of late years ;
for it was very nearly destroyed in the great
Revolution, and has been carefully rebuilt by the
succeeding sovereigns. The exterior is now main-
ly romanesque and early pointed, with battle-
mented tops to the walls, except on the north aisle,
which is richly decorated with gurgoyles and a
forest of flying-buttresses ; a fine example of Gothic
270 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
grandeur. The west front is the oldest part
externally : it has two solid round-arched roman-
esque towers, one rearing tall its spire, like a right
hand raised to heaven. In the centre a star-
shaped Avindow is set in a gabled pediment. The
interior presents a harmonious mingling of decor-
ated Gothic with the romanesque ; being restored
in fine white stone, it looks like a new church.
To the fanciful mind it seems like a widow in
Time, which engulfed the eleven steps forming
the ancient pedestal of Notre Dame de Paris, has
swept away the throne of St. Denis also. One
descends four steps on entering through great
bronze doors between massive clustered columns
on squared plinths. Though built of fair white
stone, it looks black with deep shade on entering
from the dazzling out-door light, gradually grooving
illumined as one walks up the long nave towards
the high-raised altar all white and gold, with tall
candle-sticks ; the bright glass in the chevetal
chapels forming a glory behind the altar. It is a
conofresration of the dead, whose deeds do follow
them. The white stone tombs of kings with
clasped hands represent a silent worship. Their
work is done, they are w^arriors taking their rest.
The long aisles lined with ogival windows, headed
by tracery of six-foiled rosettes, form avenues of
colour leading vista-like from the entrance gloom
to the clear light of the chancel. The coloured
glass of the clerestory and triforium windows is
absolutely dazzling in its gorgeous translucency.
THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS.
The clerestory of the nave is especially luminous
with figures of the kings in glory of coloured
splendour. Kings arrayed in glory such as they
never saw in life ; they are rather pictured as in
Paradise, clothed in richest green and purple,
crimson, amber, deep royal-blue, in lost hues of
rainbows. How different from the gaudy gaiety,
or the negative greys, of pictures in the ^ Salon' are
these pure jewel-like hues, with the afternoon sun
blazing through the glass. The windows in the
choir have figure-subjects from sacred history.
It needs a catalogue to take the royal tombs in
their sequence. The following are some of the
most interesting tombs, not always so because
they are the most elaborate :
Catherine de Courtenay in bronze, and other
figures of the royal dead of 13-1400, with animals
at their feet ; Marie de Bourbon, 1402 ; Charles,
Count of Anjou, King of Sicily, a child, 1285.
Ermentrude, a.d., 869, and Constance of Castile,
A.D., 1160, both lie beneath the great wheel
window, with their feet towards the altar :
this is the position of all the effigies. Here
is a tomb of a princess ' dont le nom reste in-
connu.' How touchino;, her imao:e alone remains :
with most of the noble dead, it is their name only
that remains, and, with the most renowned, their
works ; in these we must image them for our-
selves. Here is a Count of Dreux, his shield
seme of fleurs-de-lys. The statues of Clovis and
Clotilda stand upright as if by doors ; and this is
so ) they were brought here from the portal of the
272 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
church of Corbeil-sur-Seine at the time of the Re-
volution. These figures are works of the eleventh
century, most probably. In the middle of the
nave are three splendid monuments. The first
contains the sepulchres of Louis XII. and Anne of
Brittany, each under a columned canopy : the
figure of Louis XII. is nude. The second covers
the tombs of Henri II. and Catherine de Medicis.
The third and most highly-finished monument is
that of Francis I. and Queen Claude.
One ascends a flight of steps from the nave to
the raised choir and the surrounding chevetal
chapels. The glass in the central chapel of the
Virgin is thought to be the oldest coloured glass
in France. The standard of the sacred oriflamme,
not used in battle since the time of Charles VII.,
was formerly displayed behind the high altar of
Two figures lie, one on a green bronze slab, in
the raised chevet round the altar. Here one goes
into the sacristy to see the altar treasures, pass-
ing first through a panelled room lined with
modern pictures of great events that have taken
place at St. Denis : the funeral of Dagobert in
638; St. Louis taking the oriflamme in 1240;
Philippe le Hardi bringing the relics of his father
here in 1271, and several others ; but there is no
picture relative to Jeanne d'Arc : the French can
have no pride in Charles's deeds at St. Denis.
The same stone staircase that leads up to the
chapels of the choir also leads down into the crypt,
which is full of royal tombs among the solid round
THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 273
columns that support the church above. Here
are old brasses and the (coloured) head of a king.
Here is also a baby's tomb, the marble baby feet
resting on a lion. Within candle-lighted gratings
over small apertures, the coffins with figures of
the earlier kings are seen in an inner crypt with
massive round arches. Beyond these ancient
effigies in a separate burial-place are those of the
later Louis, with Louis XVIL in a medallion,
poor hapless boy, one of the most pathetic figures
in history, and fat Louis XVIIL Charlemagne, a
modern sculpture but a grander figure, places in
ludicrous antithesis the difference between great-
ness and stoutness. Neither do the colossal
statutes of Louis XIV. and his family look truly
great, though the wigs are bulky. The round-
arched vaulting here is part of the original
How beautiful it is to come up and out into
the coloured glow of the nave again.
Here are the effigies which more immediately
concern our subject ; new, or at least well-remem-
bered in Jeanne d'Arc's time : among them the
Constable of France, Jeanne de Bourbon, Charles
V. and Charles VL ; Isabeau de Baviere is beside
him now, then she was still* living in sin within
Paris yonder. Renee d'Orleans et Longueville
has an unicorn at her feet. Beneath a great wheel
window of violet lig^ht lie Carloman and Berthe
sceptred, and four other ancient kings and queens
in royal robes. There is also an Orleans chapel.
It strikes one with awe to walk through past
274 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
history in this way. It is a church well-calculated
to raise many varied emotions. Well might
Jeanne d'Arc have seen her visions here, have
peopled it with visions. Poor soul, she had great
need of their comfort. Her king was enthroned
truly ; but late events had destroyed the charm of
the pageantry. It w^as no fresh repetition of the
glory of Rheims. Ichabod — the glory was depart-
ed, the lustre dimmed. Charles had a medal
struck in Jeanne's honour ; on one side was her
portrait, on the other a hand holding a sword
with the legend ' Consilio confirmata Dei,' sustain-
ed by the counsel of God. The honour seemed a
The king left St. Denis on the 13th of Sep-
tember. His retreat had to be protected.
If Jeanne had adorned her imaginarj^ Charles
with as imaginary virtues, she must have been
painfully undeceived. Charles was by nature ' a la
fois aride et molle, faible et fermee ;' she could
not communicate to him the heroic tire of her
own soul, nor persuade him that God called him
to his duties. Such souls as his are deaf to the
* The British Museum possesses no replica of this medal, nor even
a cast of it. The authorities there have no belief in the existence of
such a medal. They know of no medals of Charles VII. previous to
the expulsion of the English in 1451. The ' Annuaire Numismatique '
(1867) does not mention it ; and Lenormant, who tells us that it is
France who oifers us the first example of a commemorative medal,
does not give Jeanne's medal, but only the one in commemoration of
the expulsion of the English in 1451 ; which was struck (probably)
by Jacques Coeur. Were it not that every historian speaks of a
medal having been struck in honour of Jeanne d'Arc, one would be
disposed to seek it in the ' limbo ' of Charles's good intentions.
THE ABBEY OF ST, DENIS. 275
voice of duty. His vanity, besides, was wounded
at having been made to play a secondary part in
his own triumphs. The Maid eclipsed him with
her heroism, and, as a French writer keenly says,
' Un devouement si eclatant I'oiFusquait.' This
too injured his pride. The courtiers petted him
and promised to restore him by diplomacy, by
Burgundian treaty, by words, not deeds. Yet,
though the abbey church of St. Denis did not
present the spectacle of another Rheims to Jeanne,
it was the scene of a drama infinitely more touch-
ing. When words were of no avail, Avhen arms
had failed her, when she had fousrht and bled
in vain, on Tuesday, the 13th of September, the
Maid gave and left her harness complete on our
Lady's altar at St. Denis and followed the king.
She was still faithful to him, as a noble dog is
' L'Ost a Saint Denys retourna
Ou par humbles et devotz termes
Elle ofFrit, laissa et donna
Le harnoiz dont avoit faict armes.'
She had done her utmost. She had fought
and promised that Paris should be taken, provided
that tJiey persevered, and they would not persevere.
All her prophetic promises had been of the same
sort ; God would help them if they helped them-
selves, and worked out their prayer with active
will. Orleans would be delivered — but by the
active efforts of men-at-arms, not by standing
idly by. The Bible says, ' The effectual fervent
prayer of a righteous man availeth much,' but
276 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
even here there are conditions — else where is free
will? The encouragement to work is the know-
ledge that God blesses work. He also blesses
rest ; but rest is not idleness. Faith is an active
virtue, even hope is not always passive.
At St. Denis Louis de Contes, her page, left her ;
history does not say why. Her wound received at
Paris was cured in five days, and she could now
mount her horse again and follow the king, un-
wearied in his service ; but first she came at
evening into the Abbey of St. Denis and placed
her arms as an offering at the feet of the Virgin
and before the relics of the patron saint of the
realm. ' Because it is the cry of France,' she
said. She offered her harness complete, her
maiden white armour, with the sw^ord, not of
Ste. Katherine, that was now broken, but the
one she had gained at the Boulevard St. Honore.
Her offered arms Avere afterwards hung to a
column of the temple ; even that august place
contained no more sacred relic. Her heart was
there. This was not, as has been said, an imita-
tion of the watching of the arms of chivalry, but
an offering simply, and a beseeching to be shown
the will of God, the outward act implying the
inward reverence. Jeanne having wrought to
her utmost, could only wait on her ministry.
The tide of battle had rolled aside, the pomp of
war was moving off eastward ; pageant history
again dimmed into a shade, the small suburban
town was becoming quiet again ; silence would for
ages wrap round the sleep of the kings of France,
THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 277
only the moon, ' kissing dead things to life,' would
outline the ancient towers with silver, while it cast
the more modern buildings into blackest shadow,
and played in starry ripples on the waters ; only
the host of heaven would gather round those
towers, ' a dusky empire and its diadems.'
Hear our own sweet writer upon Art and Nature
describe this scene of St. Denis as pictured by
our Turner. ' And then you shall hear the faint-
ing tempest die in the hollow of the night, and
you shall see a green halo kindling on the summit
of the eastern hills, brighter — brighter yet, till
the large Avliite circle of the slow moon is lifted
up among the barred clouds, step by step, line
by line ; star after star she quenches with her
kindling light, setting in their stead an army of
pale, penetrable, fleecy wreaths in the heaven, to
give light upon the earth, which move together,
hand-in-hand, company by company, troop by
troop, so measured in their unity of motion that
the whole heaven seems to roll with them, and
the earth to reel under them.'
Within the abbey, kneeling in the moon-ray
that pierces the dense darkness of that sepulchral
building, see Jeanne, in her despair, offering up
those arms that have failed her now. ' Pour ce
que c'est le cri de la France,' and France and she
still vainly cry for help to St. Denis. See her
watching those arms, and still hoping, brave heart,
holding up the cross-hilt of her sword before the
altar, a star in the cathedral gloom : the moonlight
glimmering on those old tombs and ranks of
coluums, those silent forms —
278 FOOTSl'EPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
' So silent they — the place so lone —
They seem like souls when life is gone,
That haunt where life has been.'
Her sio:hs unheard throii2:h the owls hootino;
outside in the deep eaves and gables.
The ghosts of the royal glory, revisiting these
pale lunar rainbow glimpses, full of sorrowful in-
dignation would look with pity upon Jeanne d'Arc,
sunken abased on that sepulchral pavement. She
has lost the proud audacity that had distinguished
her ; an outward, visible sign of her inward faith :
that confident courage without which great actions
are impossible. She sighs, and Aveeps, and prays
that her faith and her strength may be given back
to her, to be used for France and for her faithless
king. These can only be sought in solitude and
prayer ; only by keeping off contact Avith all
worldliness can she regain her spiritual vision.
In self-abasement man is truly greatest, for then
he remembers God, and recognises his own spiri-
Alone, kneeling before her God, can she discern
the signs and wonders that are dimmed by contact
with the world, and can only be recovered by
stillness and solitude in the solemnity of moon-
li^t. She rises sad yet calm, encouraged, hope-
ful. More faithful to the king than the king
himself, she did not quit him, but followed him
full of sorrow in the bitter path of retreat. The
moonlight still shines ghastly and transparent
over the abbey, which has never since been aught
but a sepulchre.
THE king's retreat. CAMPAIGN ON THE UPPER
Et sa belle vie, par foy !
Monstre qu'elle est de Dieu en grace,
Par quoy on adjouste plus foy
A son fait, car quoy qu'elle fasse,
Tousjours a Dieu devant la face.
Christine de Pisan, a mm ivJw wrote a poem on Jeanne ctArc
at the age of sixty -seven ycars^ and finished it ^Ist July, 1429.
It was a victory for the double-faced, half-hearted
courtiers, only faithful to their own skin. Per-
haps, too, several of them were bribed ; there is a
strong smell of dross about some of the chroni-
cles ; any way, their motives were ignoble.
Chivalry, in the persons of Dunois and La Hire,
was with Jeanne, and the love and trust of the
soldiery ; but selfishness and greed are stronger
than chivalry, and idleness is weightier than any-
thing in this Avorld : these were with Charles.
These were his enemies far more than the
Jeanne had promised the rulers that Paris
should be taken — if they persevered, or even if
they let her persevere for them. They did not
280 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE B'ARC.
fulfil the conditions. Her Voices told her still to
remain near Paris. Jeanne felt to be going
against the voice of heaven in leaving St. Denis,
though she said at her trial that her Voices had
afterwards given her leave to go. Her tears were
as those of angels weeping for a fallen race.
It was a sorrowful day for a girl of seventeen
— remember this, she was not yet eighteen. Her
diminished lustre was a grief such as a woman
would feel keenly, and Jeanne was sensitive on this
point. The Maid's will and her army were broken.
The king returned to Gien, leaving only promises
behind him. He made the Duke of Bourbon his
lieutenant-general and retired, his reason being
that he had not money enough to carry on the war.
He returned to wrap himself in sloth ; but, as
Martin, who loves him little, satirically says, ' II
trouva de la celerite pour la retraite.' It took
him only eight days to regain Gien, his point of
departure, although he made a circuit to cross the
Marne at Lagny, which the herald Berri says was
reduced for him. Ah, why did he not even here
make a citadel of the high-seated town of Pro-
vins, with its large-domed church, lofty for out-
look, and its great tower, a curious fortress of the
thirteenth century, an octagonal building, with
four lesser towers grouped round it, standing on
a strong round pedestal ? Passing Provins (the
roses over), he crossed the Seine at Bray, which
this time delivered up its bridge ; he forded the
Yonne near Sens, still English, which refused
him entry, as the English refused to be included
THE KING'S RETREAT. 281
in the nominal truce, and, briefly halting at
Courtenay, Chateau Regnart, and Montargis, he
came upon the Loire on Wednesday, the 21st of
September, in time to dine at Gien (' a disner a
Gien-sur-Loire,' says the old diarist). His little
life was rounded by a dinner. I hope he had a
good appetite. To arrive at Gien in time for
dinner seems such an absurd anti-climax to his
His army dispersed. The Duke of Alencon
repaired to his viscounty of Beaumont, where his
wife awaited him, and the other captains went
home, each one to his government. La Tre-
mouille and the Archbishop of Rheims ' thence-
forth governed the body of the king and his war
business,' as the old chronicler quaintly puts it.
While the king went ' promenant ses loisirs,' to
use Wallon's apt expression, in Touraine, Poitou,
and Berri, leaving all in confusion behind him
and open to pillage, there set in for the Maid a
period full of mental trouble and anguish, which
she proudly and bravely concealed — ' a period of
transition between the splendours of victory and
of martyrdom.' The revulsion of feeling was
On Michaelmas Day the Duke of Burgundy
came to Paris, and was made lieutenant of the
kingdom by Bedford. The garrison of St. Denis
fell back on Senlis, and the English carried off as
trophies the arms the Maid had deposited in the
abbey-church. The towns were held to ransom ;
it was difficult even to hold Senlis. France was
282 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D\iRC.
worse off than before the Maid had rescued her. It
was each leader for himself; everyone ravaged
his neighbour's land, and provisions rose to famine
price in Paris.
Jeanne remained with the kino^, bearins: these
troubles, that he threw off so lightly in the midst
of his gay, lute-thrumming court, where there
was a host of gallantly -arrayed minor leaders of
his disbanded army, and Alain Chartier, the poet,
ready to throw the glamour of musical words
over reverses of fortune. They had the luck to
be light-minded, but Jeanne could not find ' re-
pose in mere sensation,' as they all did, those
rebeck-twangling courtiers and the king who lost
a kingdom so gaily. They looked for repose
now, having earned it, as they deemed, by their
summer progress towards the capital, — and back ;
she only looked for rest, life's battle over.
The king remained some days resting at Gien,
whence he intended to go to Tours and Chinon ;
but the queen, who sought to reconcile herself to
her husband, came to Selles to meet him and
welcome him back. The Maid, who had their
reconciliation greatly at heart, saw this step with
joy. She went before the king and his suite, and
herself met Marie of Anjou — it seems for the first
time — and paid her homage to her queen.
Instead of continuing his route towards Chinon,
Charles consented to return to Bourges with the
queen. Probably the two high-minded women
sympathized Avith each other, as Jeanne seems to
have been encouraged to fresh hopes, and from
THE KING'S RETREAT. 288
this time she again seems highly-strung for action.
The pleasures of court life had not been able to
make her lose the sense of defeat and failure,
which the rest all felt so lightly, as if it were solely
her aiFair, not theirs : she bore the burden of
shame for them.
It would have been a miserable October to
Jeanne but that she was soothed by womanly
kindness ; another of those noble ladies who all
vied in paying respect to the heroine, enter-
tained her on a visit of three weeks at her house
at Bouro^es. This was Mar^-uerite de la Thour-
oude, Avidow of Renaud de Bouligny, the king's
treasurer. This lady paints pleasantly for us the
piety of Jeanne's life and that simplicity which
was unspoiled by camp life and the adulation of
the crowd, who attributed miraculous powers to
her, which she good-humouredly and with great
good sense denied.
The Duke of Alencon iiad collected troops
with whom he proposed to enter Normandy,
attacking the English in flank by way of Brit-
tany and Maine, provided that they permitted
the Maid to accompany him. The king refused.
Even the whole of the Loire was not yet
French ; the enemy held La Charite and St.
Pierre-le-Moustier. These strongholds threatened
the safety of the royal residences — a suflicient
reason for action. A council was held at Mehun-
sur-Y5vre,afavourite castle of indolence of Charles,
where later on he actually let himself die of starva-
tion for fear of being poisoned by his son, after-
284 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
wards Louis XL Two ruined towers of this castle
only remain. The council thought it might he
for their advantage to let Jeanne act in this part
of the country, so they sent her to lay siege to
La Charite, preluding this conquest by that of St.
Pierre-le-Moustier. Both these fortresses are on
the Loire, St. Pierre the further south of the two,
at the junction of the Loire and Allier.
The Maid would have preferred returning to
Paris, but she set to work at once to obey her
orders with good will. She went to Bo urges
(from Mehun) to gather the troops intended for
this enterprise. It appears that the court took
the opportunity of having her escort as far as
Bourges, likewise a favourite residence of the
king. Indeed his affections seem to have been
divided out hnpartially among his castles. The
house in the Rue de Paradis at Bourges, with the
eleo:ant staircase turret, is said to have been his
palace. It is now part of the Lycee. There is a
tine fireplace in the old hall still existing.
Bourges rises out of meadow-land well-stocked
with grazing cattle, It is a countrified and clean-
ly town, peopled with clean-looking provincial
folk wearing sabots. Its colossal grey cathedral
stands among the lesser roofs like an elephant
among mice. One walks up the hill through the
picturesque and dormer-windowed town to the
centre of attraction, St. Etienne, the culminating
point of Berri. What a grand cathedral it is, to
be sure, with its five sculptured portals and two
towers, one shorter than the other. And inside.
THE KING'S RETREAT. 285
it is but a nave indeed ; but what a nave ! with
its five aisles, all of diff*erent heights, and its outer
chapels, each with triforium and clerestory com-
plete as if they were the cathedral nave itself.
The effect of this is admirably grand. Among
the striking peculiarities of St. Etienne are the
large lozenge-set piers of the western end, and
externally, beyond the sumptuous wall-veil of the
building, the massive double flying-buttresses,
which by their bulky depth of shade give infinite
value to the fine and lighter traceries, and to the
Norman work of the older part of the church.
These dark, solid arches are most fascinating to
an artist, with their strange chiaroscuro and the
peeps of the tosvn-roofs lying bright in every
gradation of tile-tint beneath the dark openings.
The windows and portals of the west front are
peculiarly deeply buttressed and embayed. This
attention to strong contrast of light and shade,
and the predominance of the number five in all
the leading details of the church, give it an
original and strongly-marked individual character,
sino-lino: it out to remembrance amono^ the numer-
ous French cathedrals, when all these have blended
in the memory as does a mountain chain in one
intricate tissue of grandeur. Truly the mountains
here are of man's making — under inspiration — one
may say ; when lifted up beyond himself.
Charles, though King of Bourges, was not the
only king in Bourges : for though his famous
house, now the Hotel de Ville, was not yet built
(it was begun some fifteen years later than Jeanne
286 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
d'Arc's little day), yet Jacques Coeur, the gold-
smith (the George Heriot of France) was the
great capitalist and employer of labour of his
time. ' Rich as Jacques Coeur ' was a proverb.
One may say almost all the gold in France
passed through his hands. Jacques Coeur pro-
vided the sinews of war for Charles, as Dunois, La
Hire, and Saintrailles furnished him with hands
and weapons, and Jeanne d'Arc provided the brave
spirit. Besides being a magnificent banker and
builder of the most sumptuously florid house in
France — ' a vaillants Coeurs rien impossible,'
Jacques Coeur favoured the disciples of Van Eyck
in art. He encourao-ed art like a kino^. He was
king of the arts of peace, so to speak ; Charles
was king of idleness.
Charles often came to Bourges to fill his purse.
But at length, less wise than his prudent, crafty son,
Louis XL, who made the importance of the bur-
gesses the characteristic of his government, he
killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. For
in later years the courtiers envied Jacques Coeur,
hated, vilified, ruined him, and the king seized
his 2:oods and drove him out into the Avorld an
aged, poor, and banished man. The courtiers
declared Agnes Sorel to have been poisoned by
Jacques Coeur. Agnes knew him better, knew
that he was her true friend. He was appointed
one of the executors to her will.
His house externally presents a range of street
pictures of florid but harmonious character, Avhile
the general details would suflice to form a glossary
THE KING'S RETREAT.
of ornament in themselves. A new Terracottopolis
might here supply itself with patterns for its gables,
chimneys, roofs, and spires, and every architec-
tural freak, without degenerating into extrava-
gance of design.
Besides the house of Jacques Coeur, there is
the picturesque gendarmerie, which is an elegant
example of the spired and turreted renaissance,
and there are many other old houses remarkable
even in this very dormer-and-gably place, which I
should call ^ the French Nuremberg.' Besides the
houses that Murray mentions, there is No. 44 on
the road to the station, which has a moulding of
lions and thistles mingled with birds feeding out
of baskets, and over the door a bas-relief like a
valentine ; a shield resembling a heart, with two
cupids as supporters, and a bust inside a crocketed
Gothic arch ; all laughable, but piquant wdthal,
and not inelegant.
Even in this early November time, when also
Jeanne was here, there is something fresh and
bowery about the landscape. The country is still
green and moist, almost too moist, and the trees
are autumn- tinted, mingling their colours with
the bright tile roofs and white house-fronts of
the suburbs, all standing well out from the grey
background, which also gives excelling brightness
to yonder rainbow. The ' alize ' berries are ripe,
a common fruit here, growing in bunches like
larger hips. I do not know them as edible fruit
elsewhere than in Berri. The reddeninsf cherrv-
leaves brighten the withered brown foliage round
288 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
the farmsteads. This part of France is full of homes,
from the turreted chateau to the dormer-windowed
nests of the artisan and peasant. The dark-eyed
women are fine-featured and fresh-coloured. They
are handsomer here than in most parts of France ;
one traces a southern origin in their sometimes
nearly classic outlines. I do not say the majority
are beautiful, but there is a good per-centage.
They wear coal-scuttle cottage bonnets, trimmed
with broad black velvet, planted bolt upright on
the top of their heads.
The troops and money raised, Jeanne d'Arc rode
forward to besiege St. Pierre-le-Moustier, at the
junction of the Loire and Allier, which from
here run nearly parallel deep into the mountains
of Auvergne, draining almost the whole range of
the Cevennes, and all those high-peaked hills
where the grey and purple rocks are set in
greenest grass, for this steep country is a part of
France where excellent butter is made ; and now
in November the densely-grown beeches changing
colour, and other varied foliage of brown and yel-
low, relieved with scarlet leaves of the wild cherry,
shelter the cattle which animate the park-like
scenery of the slopes between the red-roofed and
irregular towns, all busy and prosperous with
their fresh-coloured, healthy -looking population.
The higher mountains are covered with brush-
wood mino^led with beech and fir. The ascents
in zigzag terraces are truly Alpine, with their
viaducts and deep cuttings, fringed at the sky-
line with balsam pines, and rapid descents which
THE KING'S RETREAT. 289
take the breath away. Here is the infant Loire,
full of stone-banks and islands from his very
babyhood. He is quite a spoiled child ; but when
one sees where he comes from, and the sort of
country he drains, one no longer wonders at the
islands and shifting sandbanks at Orleans and
The Allier, too, is full of stones, islands, and
sandbanks, so that art has to supplement the
navigation. Near Le Guetin, close by St. Pierre-
le-Moustier, is a long stone bridge, le Leve, or
Pont-Canal de Guetin, carrying the lateral canal
of the Loire right over the Allier : a vast work.
St. Pierre-le-Moustier lies on the boundary of
the ancient provinces of Nivernois and Le Bour-
bonnais. It is a mere village, commanded by the
ruins of the strong old donjon tower whose massy
walls were held by Jeanne d' Arc's enemies. The
old church still remains where the besieged had
placed their goods, and which Jeanne caused to
be respected. The archivolt of the north door-
way has some fine remains of sculpture.
The siege of St. Pierre-le-Moustier shows that
the capture of Jargeau and other places was the
result of Jeanne's generalship as well as her
valour, for here she was in sole command, so
that one cannot attribute her success to the sup-
port of Dunois or the Duke of Alencon, for they
were employing themselves in Normandy. Per-
sonally she took St. Pierre-le-Moustier, placing
herself resolutely in the foremost front of danger.
' Bring faggots and hurdles, everyone, so as to
290 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
make the bridge,' cried she, and a bridge was
formed and the town taken by assault. The
bright rainbow of Bo urges had been an augury
of good hope.
From here she desired to follow down the
Loire and besiege La Charite. But the place
was strongly fortified with its fourteenth century
watch-towers, and she had not munitions sufficient
to attack it. She examined La Charite from the
outside, but had not the opportunity of inspecting
its collegiate church, which Fergusson calls one of
the most picturesque and beautiful in France. It
was built ' stupenda celeritate,' and the Abbe Suger
was present at its dedication in 1144. The court
not furnishing her with necessaries, she addressed
herself to the towns, and Bo urges engaged her
octrois, and Orleans also sent her succours.
While waiting for these supplies she reconnoitred
the country round about and followed up the
Allier to Moulins, now a dull, provincial town of
no special interest, except such as hangs about the
moist memory of Sterne's humid Maria. Of the
castle only a square tower, called ' La Mai Coiffee,'
still remains. There is of course a cathedral, but
this is eclipsed by the neighbouring Abbey of
Souvigny, the burial-place of the Dukes of Bour-
bon ; the St. Denis of that great family. This is
one of the most remarkable buildings in tiie
province. Jeanne wrote to Riom from Moulins
on the 9th of November, which fixes the date of
her visit. The avenues at Moulins were still
green when she was there, notwithstanding the
THE KING'S UETUEAT. 291
advanced season. In Lanofuedoc the trees are
already brown or bare by November. The climate
is milder and more agreeable in the Bourbonnais.
Here the cattle were not yet honsed for the winter
when the Maid went to La Charite on the 24th
hoping speedily to capture the place. But it was
hard, uphill work, and, the king still sending no
supplies, the army for lack of money and provisions
had to raise the siege at the end of a month, to
Jeanne's great vexation. The court, as usual, asked
nothing better than excuses for inaction, and was
glad to disband the troops and lay up in winter
quarters. La Charite was now isolated, and
unlikely to disturb the king's repose.
After the failure at La Charite, they had pre-
text enough to prevent Jeanne from undertaking
anything. They aiFected to console her, and
heaped on her the vain favours of the court.
They surrounded her with observances and
honours, and her family was ennobled ; but she
herself kept her own name and banner.
' It is difficult,' says George Eliot, ' almost im-
possible for a man to pass his life amidst (court)
intrigues, and yet preserve his purity intact.'
Jeanne sought a higher consecration of her
powers than they did, even than the best of them.
Alas, it might have been hers to have redeemed
France, and now the enemy had burst over and
flooded the land again, and still they kept her
inactive, chafing against the pettiness of their
views, while following the court from Bourges to
Sully, whence she visited the toAvns she had de-
292 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
livered ; Orleans, for instance, and Jargeau ; and
she visited Montfaucon in Berri, where a soi-distant
inspired person, Catherine de la Rochelle, came to
seek her. Besides her foes, native and foreign,
she had now a rival. This Catherine held out a
more tempting bait than Jeanne, she promised
gold. Jeanne only promised liberty. It has
always been the case that, if the devil cannot mar
any work of God, he parodies that work. The
inventive or creative spirit is eminently opposed
to the diabolic nature, which has no original
mind, but only corrupt or perverted talents. It
can only mimic scornfully what has been done,
it cannot improve upon it, nor nobly copy ; it
can only caricature, deface, defile. This is why
parody is so lowering, travesty so debasing.
Everything can be made a jest of. And the
humour is keenest when the highest things are
brought low ; the sense of contrast, of incon-
gruity, tickles one ; this is one of the elements
of wit which, to be pure, must be kept within
bounds of the most exquisite taste, that it may
not degenerate into boisterous or vulgar fun.
Attic wit is fine in its outlines as Greek sculp-
ture, sharp cut as the intaglio on a gem ; not
flying fast and loose, or slipping on and off like a
too easy shoe. The spirit of reverence contains
the essence of beauty. Perhaps this is why the
Bible warns us against levity as not convenient.
It is an arm of Satan for lowering our tone of
feeling and bringing all things into contempt :
equalising all laws, human and divine, by crush-
THE KING'S RETREAT. 293
ing them into the dust and treading them under-
foot. Nothing is honoured. No one can be
nourished by the fragments of bread that have
been fluno; into the gutter. The flowers are
crushed, the silver broidery tarnished, all is made
common by the commonest people. Travesty has
none of the wholesome uses of irony and satire.
Wit^ which is the most exquisite zest of life, its
very salt, which keeps talk from becoming cor-
rupt and feeble, is turned to sneers and flippancy.
The ' esprit moqueur ' is a type which does the
heart no good. George Eliot, after sad search
for living truth, says, ' It is the flippant way in
which the most solemn hopes of the noblest
humanity are disposed of that disgusts me. It
would be better (?) if they could have a false
worship, with one generous emotion.' We can
all understand her feeling, though we cannot
endorse it altogether. In France it is said, ' To
ridicule is to kill.' Are we the better for having
dead bodies all around us, or dead faiths ?
The clear-sighted Jeanne disbelieved in Cathe-
rine of Rochelle ; this was of course attributed to
jealousy of a rival. The more credulous Friar
Richard was tempted to belief His mind was
so constituted that spiritual pretensions had a
strange charm for him, which this time he did not
care to test too closely. There is much hunger for
the marvellous in this sort of people. Friar
Richard was an over-credulous spiritual director
for Jeanne d'Arc ; it was rather she who guided
294 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
Catherine's offer to supply money to pay the
army was the easier that the army was dispersed :
the men had gone to till the ground. Protracted
campaigns were impracticable before the days of
standing armies. Catherine did not press for the
soldiers to be recalled to their standards, she said
it was too cold to pursue the siege of La Charite.
In fact, no prophetess could have suited the court
better, for she made no exacting demands, which
are so tiresome when they come in the shape of
duties. Jeanne was not in unison with their
light and childish temper. As it has been said of
a great employer of labour in modern times
(Brassey), ' people seemed to enter into a higher
atmosphere when they were in (her) presence/
And they could not bear the rarefied air. The
court and she lived in two different worlds of
feeling: to their world she was a stranger, their
mental language was not hers. In their world she
was being well-nigh driven from that sympathy
with her neighbour, which is part of our communion
with God, into the abstracted asceticism which is
so remote from true religion. Her active, healthy
physique nurtured in peasant life saved her.
She had sounded the shallows of the court in
her austere young gravity, now made more seri-
ous by sorrow and by experience of a wide sort.
Not long ago all choice and beautiful things had
given her delight, even to fine colours, burnished
steel, rich stuffs and splendour ; for she was ' one
of those happily constituted and well-proportioned
persons who show forth a certain completeness
THE KING'S RETREAT. 295
of nature.' Jeanne had that rare personality
which persuades its fellows, and attracts inferiors
with reverence and superiors with admiration.
But here at court no nature was so great as her
own, and now she found little to admire except
on lookinii: upwards. Even when not illuminated
from above, not actually in the power of im-
mediate revelation, she was never as a lamp un-
trimmed. Not always carried to the third heaven,
she was always prepared to be so uplifted, her
imagination exalted with every other sensibility
of her nature. Thus keeping her conversation
in heaven, her simple nature could not be ' caught
in a tangle of sophisticated ' demands. She, like
other prophets, was master of her own spirit, yet,
as Savonarola said, who felt the like experiences,
only in the different, perhaps feebler measure of a
highly learned man, ' I speak as it is given me to
speak — I am not master of the time when I may
become the vehicle of knowledge beyond the com-
mon lights of man.' Jeanne was always ready to
receive revelation, apt to perceive it : quick as
light it travelled to her mind. This quicker,
livelier divination makes the poet, and in fuller
measure, likewise the prophet.
Catherine of Rochelle and Friar Richard more
weakly allowed themselves to be ruled by those
phantasies which ' govern in the place of thought.'
It has been said of Rienzi, that other character
of the middle-ages who rose abnormally and
suddenly from obscurity to power, — the rise
seemed sudden and preternatural because the
296 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
processes were hidden, the growth silent, — ' Rienzi
was no faultless hero of romance. In him lay
strong sense, an eloquence and energy that mas-
tered all he approached, an enthusiasm that
mastered himself; luxury and abstinence, stern-
ness and susceptibility, devoted patriotism and
strong animal spirits.' All this, cast in a feminine
mould and with simpler piety, might be applied
to Jeanne : if indeed such opposing qualities are
not distinctive of all powerful characters in whom
the mingling of opposite elements effervesces in
In these two examples we see how little differ-
ence mere book-learning makes. Rienzi was
learned, Jeanne illiterate. The ancient writings,
warmed by the living fire of Petrarch, were his
scriptures in which he sought the anatomy of
power. The Book of God, as seen in Nature, in
church teaching, and in the art and architecture of
her time, was the lore she sought.
' With the sinking of high human trust, the
dignity of life sinks too ; we cease to believe in
our own better self, since that also is part of the
common nature which is degraded in our thought ;
and all the finer impulses of the soul are dulled.'
Even the ideal, intellectual grace of the court
was dimmed and deadened unto her by the
puerility of its designs. Not even Alain Chartier,
the poet, could now elevate it, nor the gallantries
of the courtiers enliven it, nor disarm her austerity.
The falsity of it all was only too perceptible. The
tinsel still glittered, but she now knew it was not
THE KING'S RETREAT. 297
real gold. She had no longer her sunny delight
in life, though perhaps her angles were rounded
by a higher culture.
Yet, though she could not enjoy their amuse-
ments, she neo;lected none of the social kindnesses.
She never refused to do a favour. Many times
during this lull in her active career she stood
godmother for infants. The boys she was sponsor
for were christened Charles, in honour of the king,
the girls were named Jehanne.
With music and love-making at court ruled
also the newly-invented diversion of cards.
These were the three courtly graces of the
time. But cards could not have contented
Jeanne even as a relaxation. Her mind was
not of an order to be satisfied with cards ;
and, as for relaxation, she only craved work
whereby to relax her highly-strung soul ; her
free, energetic mind disdained the mimic war-
The king had failed France ; she never said it,
she resisted to her death any attacks upon her
loyalty, but she knew it. She must now serve
The truce with the Duke of Burgundy, which
expired at Christmas, was prorogued to Easter,
and instead of Compiegne, which refused to be
handed over, Pont-Saint-Maxence was given up
in guarantee, to the discontent of Duke Philip.
Fighting was still going on in Normandy, and
Chateau Gaillard was taken.
The Armagnacs were at the gates of Paris. On
298 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
the 23rd of March, 1430, they were again at St.
Denis ; on the 25th of April they were estabhshed
at St. Maur. The wave of movement had begun
again ; as the ssup rose in the trees, so rose ardour
among French patriots : Jeanne glowed with hope
' The breadth and grandeur of world history
raised her above petty individual cares, morti-
fications, mischances.' Patriotism regained its
predominance. Keep motives single, there lies
strength of character. One needs at times to
break through the tangle, the warp of life, and
seek renewal alone with Nature : to bathe in
open spaces of sea and sky. Jeanne felt this, and
longed to be under Nature's restoring influence.
The Maid wrote on the 16th of March to reassure
Rheims, which dreaded the enemy's revenge, and
again on the 28th of March. This last letter is
dated from Sully, probably on the eve of her
departure, as she left the court in March, accord-
ing to Perceval de Cagny. Jeanne now, as
twice before, took her own resolution. She took
no leave of the king, but went forth quietly and
alone, and turned her steps towards Lagny-sur-
Marne, where they were valiantlj^ fighting, and she
might aid them. Doubly orphaned, torn by des-
tiny from her father, bereft of her hopes by her
king, she left that treacherous court which only
relaxed the tension of soul and nerves ; where
doubtless she felt she had to combat enemies
within more insidious and hard to cope with than
an open foe. Doubtless, too, the courtiers re-
THE KING'S RETREAT. 299
joiced at her departure, though they blamed her
loudly for it. Her presence was a burden to
them, now that she knew them in their true
colours. No more could the court of our Charles
II. have brooked the presence of a puritan. To
Milton could not have been given the laurel of
court favour. Jeanne was a puritan in that court
of joyeuse science. She went out from among
them, yet still to serve them.
THE ROYAL IDOL BKOKEN. THE FOREST OF
' Sans la grace de Dieu je ne ferais rien,' dit Jeanne. Le juge lui
demanda si elle savait qu'elle fut dans la grace Elle repondit : ' Si
je n'y suis, Dieu veuille m'y mettre ; et si j'y suis, Dieu veuille m'y
garder.' (' Without the grace of God I could do nothing,' said Jeanne.
The judge asked her if she knew she was in grace. She answered, ' If
I am not, may God place me therein ; and if I am, may God keep me
A GENERAL Without an army — accompanied most
probably by d'Aulon, her squire, as we find him
with her at Compiegne, and one of her brothers,
as we are told later that two men stayed with her
all the time since she left the king, and one of
these was her brother, young Pierre du Lys- —
Jeanne set forth from Sully on her chivalrous
enterprise, taking her road towards Lagny-sur-
Marne by way of Lorris to Montargis. The loyal
Montargis, which, for its unalterable devotion to
the national cause, had been freed in perpetuity
from all taxes, excepting the gabelle on salt ; the
citizens having the right to wear a crowned
M embroidered on their coats, and the town
receiving the name of Montargis-le-Franc, or
TEE ROYAL IDOL BROKEN. 301
free. The ^ Encyclopsedia Britannica,' speaking of
Charles as Bedford's 'vigilant enemy/ (!) says
Dunois, with a thousand men, had compelled the
Earl of Warwick to raise the siege of Montargis.
It is a very countrified town, whose inhabitants
do not seem to take life very earnestly. In the
Place, an irregular, obtuse-angled triangle, with
insignificant low houses built round an accident-
ally shaped village green, paved as an after-
thought, the dog of Montargis is chasing the
pigeons, while dark-eyed, flat-capped boys play
at quarterstafi* with the long clubs of bread they
are carrying home for breakfast. It is a flowery
place. The pinks are overflowing their pots, and
enlarging the boundaries of the beautiful, on the
balconies belono^ino; to the tile-floored rooms.
The fathers of families are hoeing their back
gardens, or busying themselves with the house-
hold ofiices that we English always relegate to
women. The kitchen pans are full of carrots and
scraped asparagus, the cook is cleaning gudgeons,
while monsieur cracks up a cone of sugar, or
roasts his cofl*ee in the frying-pan. How tho-
roughly these good-natured Frenchmen, w^hen
they are domestic at all, enjoy their cooking
and gardening ; and in these country towns the
meeting each other at evening church, and per-
haps winding up with the unexciting dominoes
over a cheerful glass of sugar and water.
The dominoes excepted, perhaps their habits
were much the same in Jeanne. d'Arc's time.
Even then might also have been seen the women
;302 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'AJHC.
ill small transparent frilled caps, lace or linen (it
was before muslin was invented), washing in the
river flowing below those same old wooden-fronted
houses, with wooden galleries overhanging the
stream, where now they kneel to wash, and chat,
and laugh among the flower-pots and the many
picturesque bits of out-of-door domestic life which
make the less-frequented foreign towns so charm-
ing, where these things are not got up to order as
part of the scenery.
High up yonder, above the pink feathery
tamarisks, is what was once the extensive castle,
known as ' Le Berceau des Enfans de France,' be-
cause it was used as the royal nursery. Here was
formerly to be seen a fresco representing the story
of the 'Dog of Montargis ;' which was a tale quite
recent in Jeanne d'Arc's time, as it Avas before
the eyes of Charles VI. at Paris that the sagacious
dog singled out from among a crowd the mur-
derer of his master, indicated the spot in the Forest
of Bondy where the corpse was buried, and fought
the murderer and compelled him to confess his
All that is left of the castle now is a tower
(with traces of a portcullis) in a lofty situation
commanding the town, and a few remains of walls
surrounding a private house and garden, from
whence there is a fine expanse of view over a
Within the dark Gothic church, the one with the
gurgoyles and flying buttresses, we might well
fancy we saw Jeanne, the champion of all these
THE ROYAL IDOL BROKEN. 303
simple-minded folk, her brethren. After looking
on, herself unrecognised, at their innocent pur-
suits, once hers likewise before she was called to
the path of glory, and singled out for martyrdom ;
we can fancy her approaching the dim taper-
lighted altar, below the tall light columns and
lofty pointed arches of the square-ended apse, to
pray for them before fighting for them.
Her horse was rested, she must on now, her
people to the northward need her.
Refreshed by her vespers, Jeanne pushed on
towards the great forest of Fontainebleau in that
' quiet evening light which dissipates all unrest.'
Leaving behind her the fir-fringed line of the
Vernisson hills tipped with highly-charged electric
clouds, and Souppes among the streams, she rode
straight across the broken, irregular ground and
partially reclaimed woodland descending into and
then rising again across the vale, or rather ravine,
of the small river Loing.
It is uneasy riding among these boulders and
grey stones, and masses of yellow rock which time
has aged to grey, ever cropping out among the hills.
The high ground slopes broadly and insensibly off
both ways, looking what it is, like the watershed
of great rivers. It is now further drained by a
canal. Streams meander in the purpling sunset;
nightingales flood the air with melody from out
the black fringe of firs against the sundown ;
and beyond the streams a long line of thinly-
leafed poplars stands out like a border of black
lace ' woven in black distinctness ' upon the
304 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
pale amber sky ; then day entirely sinks be-
hind the dark trees above the charcoal-burners'
glimmer in the forest by Nemours, called so from
the woods (nemora) which formerly surrounded
it ; and according to the conceit of a modern Dutch
poet, translated from his quaint homely jargon,
' The slender sickle of the moon passes through
the corn-field of the stars, and now and then one
of the severed ears is seen to drop.'
Mingled with the trill of nightingales, the deep
voices of dogs were heard baying the moon as
Jeanne's small party drew up to rest for the night,
under the stars possibly, the falling stars ' darting
their artillery forth.' The dogs howling, an omen
of death. ' The dog ' (the Arabs say) ' can distin-
guish the awful form of Azrael, the angel of death,
hovering over the doomed abode, whereas man's
spiritual sight is dull and dim by reason of his
sins.' Probably there was no busy bustle of an
inn to welcome them ; for we do not know
whether Nemours would have received them or
not : it may have belonged to the enemy, and
Jeanne Avould not have been permitted to
venture her person in a town where she might
have been made prisoner. They three had ridden
about thirty-five miles to-day.
The sun, breaking through dense masses of white-
piled cloud, shone out cheerfully next morning; the
air was fragrant with the scent of turpentine from
the pine-trees, as, leavingto the eastward Thomery,
nestling in its vineyards, the travellers approached
the forest of Fontainebleau on the St. Germain and
THE ROYAL IDOL BROKEN. 305
Franchard side. This is still a wild country (kept
artificially so in some measure), though it is now
crossed by good straight hunting roads in all direc-
tions, and featured hereabout by the large and lofty
railway- viaduct of thirty arches over the Loing.
At the landmarks, such as fountain-springs, famous
trees, or the buttressed ruins of a monastery, toy-
sellers with cuckoo-whistles spring out now-a-days
upon the traveller, destroying all impression of
the sublime, and touts drag him off to the various
points of view, such as 'Maria Theresa's belvedere '
and the ' Weeping Rock.' One cannot give oneself
up unreservedly to the spirit of the place, which
even now is only a half-reclaimed chaos.
Jeanne had the forest to herself; only the deer
sprang startlingly across the bewildered path,
made more confused by gleams of fitful sunshine.
It was a fit scene for a struggle with mental an-
guish, this valley strewn with rocks and ruins.
Sad and dispirited, Jeanne moved here like an
outcast in a savage, gloomy land, like the land of
Nod. Looking back on those days so ' prodigal of
happiness,' when she was all in all to king and
country, it seemed noAV as if the fatal charge of
sorcery truly branded her brow, and she was a
dread to her own party as well as a curse to the
foe. There were few, very few to return her love
and services with any gentle caress, and those few
were the most likely to die by her side.
' I've heard of hearts unkind ; kind deeds
With coldness still returning.
Alas ! the gratitude of man
Has oftener left me mourning.'
306 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
Her check at La Charite, magnified to a phan-
tom of failure through the mist of her own sensi-
tiveness, was only to be retrieved by a new and
more difficult attempt upon Paris. The wind
music moaned through the tree stems, thrillingly,
like gigantic reed-stops in a mighty organ.
Among the sun blotches on the shaded forest,
the great ^ Pharamond ' tree, a sturdy young giant
in Jeanne's tin>e, stood like a luminous sky-
reaching line, surrounded by the sinuous stems
of tall beeches seeking and struggling up to the
light; the scented woods all vigorous in their
mounting sap ; the young green sprays pushing off
the old shrivelled leaves. Squirrels skim from
branch to branch, like shooting stars in the
curve of their smooth, swift-gliding movement ;
ground game and feathered game peep out shyly
from among the junipers, and vermin creep tor-
tuously among the stones, while Jeanne waits,
dreamily resting until her companions can discover
their further way. Near where a ferruginous
rill trickles from a rock set in golden genista, she
gazes over the broad view of the Valley of the
SoUe. They had to complete another ride of
thirty-five miles before they could reach Melun,
and must not lose themselves in the recesses of
the forest. The opportunity of asking the way
of a charcoal-burner or chance forester must not
The light bursting forth in noontide strength
among the tangled shadows of the stems made
the scene more dazzling and difficult to compre-
THE ROYAL IDOL BROKEN, 307
hend than in the greyness chased away. The ex-
panse of what is now called the Valley of William
Tell must then have been a pathless labyrinth.
One now climbs by a gentle ascent the ravine,
half hidden by broken foregrounds. Higher up,
the path joins another coming from Belle-Croix.
Here one should turn to the right, following the
rocky crests which command a range of ravines
on the left. Advancing by the line of a rampart
of rocks bristling on the right, one arrives at the
Belvedere of Jeanne d'Arc, the highest point,
giving a fine view over the Rocher St. Germain
and the Valley of the Solle. This little-known
spot, deeply sequestered in the wildest part of
the forest, holds the only remaining tradition of
the passage of the heroine. The winding path
descends among masses of sandstone, clumps of
beeches and aged junipers ; the fine oak of King
Robert, which is a landmark in the direction of
the gorges of Franchard and Apremont, showing
the direction to take in the dasdalus of ravines,
hills, heaps of sandstone, and coppices by those
who seek this spot, named after the Maid of Or-
leans, which lies, least visited of any, in the very
heart of the forest. Jeanne must have crossed
the forest in this journey by striking across from
Uri, which is on the Orleans road to Fontaine-
bleau, passing by La Croix de Franchard, La Croix
du Grand Veneur, Mont St. Pere, La Croix du
Beau Filleul, La Croix de la Table du Grand
Maitre, La Croix des Becassieres, and the Plaine
and Bois de la Rochette.
308 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
It was at the Croix du Grand Veneur that
Henri IV. is said to have met the spectral black
huntsman who haunts the forest, and who, as the
legend goes, predicted the king's death shortly
before his assassination by Ravaillac.
Lightning playing among the broken grandeur
of these wastes gives an indescribably solemn eifect.
So wide a horizon illumined by flashes, revealing
the destruction that is even now going on among
the trees, makes it seem as if the whole wilderness
had been thrown into chaos by the storm, as the
lurid light, bursting forth Avith fierce cleaving
strength, displays a shattered and a ruined world.
It has a more bewildering character than a storm
at sea, from the vivid revelations of blackness
and contorted shapes cut dazzlingly against the
momentary light. The wild birds' hooting has re-
placed the nightingales, the deer run tremblingly
to covert, the vermin and small game to their
nooks and holes ; travellers seek the most fre-
quented path as dusk closes in, for to be entangled
in such a forest at night, with a storm devastating
the country round, is a danger to be shunned even
by the bravest warriors.
It would have been probably as evening closed
on her second day's journey that Jeanne and
her companions cast about them for a shelter for
the night. They may have sought and found it
within the town, then a hamlet, of Fontainebleau,
where there was a small royal hunting castle, built
in 1162 by Louis VII. ; but more likely they took
shelter in the monastery, whose wall alone remains.
rHE ROYAL IDOL BROKEN. 309
We have no means of knowing certainly where
Jeanne d'Arc halted in this unrecorded journey,
but, as it is by the most direct route a ride of
over seventy miles from Sully to Melun, she
could not have performed it in less than two
days' hard riding ; and, as the country is un-
usually broken and difficult, she most likely found
two resting-places before reaching Melun on the
third day's journey.
From Sully to Montargis is twenty -four miles ;
from Montargis to Nemours nineteen miles ;
Nemours to the Belvedere of Jeanne d'Arc about
seventeen ; thence to Melun about ten miles.
These distances are only ajjproximately given by
the modern roads, which are still not direct from
point to point. At that time, of course, the paths
must have been more circuitous.
The morning light again showed the scene
diiferently. The Fontaine de Belle Eau sparkled
freshly for Jeanne's morning draught (she drank
nothing but water) before setting out on her ten
miles' ride among the green-tasselled firs and
yellow genista of the Valley of the Solle, and by
the Seine winding through the woods at Bois-le-
Roy, w^here charcoal-burners w^ere busy at their
work, and oxen were drawing loads of faggots and
provisions into Melun. From far beyond where
the Seine winds round under the hill-side, which
casts the reflection of its undulating woods into
the water, the twin towers of the town are visible.
Now-a-days there is a tall spire at Melun, and a
second double tower : but these Jeanne saw not.
310 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
Her object was to go to Lagny, where her friends
were fighting, but she may have felt she helped
the cause best by her efforts at Melun, creating a
diversion in their favour, as we hear from out
their camp, ' Good news arrived from Yonne and
Seine. Sens "turned French," Melun revolted.
Paris even felt an upstirring ;' and we know from
general history that at the instigation of Jeanne
d'Arc the people of Melun under her leadership
rose against the English and constrained them to
take refuge in the castle, which was forced to
capitulate after twelve days of siege.
We also know she was at Melun in the Easter
week, about the 15th of April, 1430, and the truce
would expire on the 17th of April, when she
could legitimately begin to fight the Burgundians
at Lagny. With the English there was no truce,
so we are at liberty to suppose that the siege of
Melun Castle was before this.
Jeanne entered Melun in the teeth of the Eng-
lish garrison. She had confidence in the courage
of its inhabitants, who had proved themselves
valiant ten years before.
In 1420, Melun, which was enclosed within
strong walls, defended itself with admirable
energy against the King of England, Henry V.,
and the Duke of Burgundy, his ally. ' Les
compaignons du dedans,' says an old monkish
historian, ' tiroient de grand couraige de canon et
d'arbalestes, et plusieurs en tuoient. Et entre les
aultres, y avoit un compaignon qu'on disoit estre
religieux de I'ordre de Sainct Augustin, done
THE ROYAL IDOL BROKEN. 311
Simon, moyne de Jard, pres Melun, tres-bon
arbalestrier, auquel on fit bailler une tres-bonne
et tres-forte arbaleste. Et quand les Anglois et
les Bourguignons venoient pres des fosses, et
qu'il les pouvait apercevoir, il ne failloit point a
les tuer, et diet-on que lui tout seul, il tua bien
soixante hommes d'armes sans les aultres. (' The
companions inside fired cannon and crossbow with
great courage, and killed several. Among the rest
there was a companion that they said was a monk
of the order of St. Augustin, Father Simon, monk
of Jard, near Melun, a very good crossbowman, to
whom they gave a very good and very strong cross-
bow. And when the English and the Burgundians
came near the moats, and he could see them, he
never failed to kill them, and they say that he alone
killed fully sixty men-at-arms without the others.')
The town only surrendered when there remained
not a horse, nor a dog, nor a cat to eat. The monk
was beheaded after the capitulation. Such a
brave town deserved succour when it desired to
free itself from the foreign rule, which was exer-
cised with great severity : and this was a piece
of work after Jeanne's own heart. She recovered
the good town ; in memory of which, in Saint
Aspais, the lofty principal church of Melun,
built in the fifteenth century, there is on the
exterior of the chevet a bronze medallion, by
Chapu, mounted in 1872, representing ^Jeanne
d'Arc, deliverer of Melun, 1430.' It has been
said of Mahomet that he owed his wonderful suc-
cess at least as much to his intense nationality as
812 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
to any other cause, whether natural or super-
natural. It was the same with Jeanne d'Arc,
she represented the feeling of the nation.
The restored church of Notre Dame, which
dates from the tenth century, has two fine roman-
esque towers ; one leaves this to the right in the
island before crossing the principal arm of the river.
In Jeanne's time many Roman remains were
visible at Melun. Some have recently been ex-
humed while making alterations and excavations
in the Place of Notre Dame in 1864 ; they are
chiefly fragments of sculpture, bas-reliefs, and a
statuette and inscriptions of the time of Drusus
Germanicus, brother of Tiberius. Of Csesar's
tower, sole vestige of the dwelling of the Frank-
ish kings of France, only the foundation remains.
The tower was destroyed in the eighteenth
It was while standing on the towers of Melun,
looking beyond the orchards and the lines of trees
by the roads which here lead the eye so far into
the distance, and away to the dense woods on
the ascent to the table land of La Brie, that
Jeanne hearkened while her Voices told her she
would be taken prisoner before St. John's Day,
24th of June. This they repeated to her every
day. They announced her captivity as a thing
to which she must submit, and Jeanne, though
she felt death would be preferable, went on with-
out hesitation to the accomplishment of her work.
She had passed out of despondency to rekindled
THE ROYAL IDOL BROKEN. 313
It was now April. The fresh spring air played
about her : she was again among earnest people
and not among triflers, such as those cour-
tiers at Bourges, who had made the long winter
evenings seem so terribly long by playing at
cards all through them. She was roused and in-
vigorated by the remembrance that she had a
work to do, and excited rather than daunted by
the near expectation of death for a noble cause.
Here upon the towers of Melun, surrounded by
the music of the bells, her Voices spoke more and
more clearly to her ear : and who shall say that
this choice spirit did not apprehend more clearly
than the duller world the messages from Heaven
always ringing round us ?
' Quand j'aurai fait ce pourquoi je suis envoyee de par Dieu, je
prendrai I'habit de femme.' (' When I shall have done that for which
I have been sent by God, I will put on woman's dress.')
Jeanne (TArc to her jailers.
Melun safe, the Maid crossed the high land of
Brie and pushed on to Lagny-sur-Marne, at about
thirty miles distance. Here she led off by a bril-
liant action against some marauders, said to be
English, but, as they rode under the leadership
of a gentleman named Franquet d' Arras, this is
very doubtful. Lagny, which had fought brave-
ly, was relieved and made safe, and the Maid
pushed on to join her friends at Senlis.
At Lagny-sur-Marne there are now vast choco-
late works and a model village. The colony
comprises model artisans' dwellings, schools, co-
operative stores, savings' banks, reading-rooms,
and other social experiments in working order ;
all well worth seeing.
The news of the return of the Maid to the scene
of action rang through Paris, rousing the supersti-
tious terror of the enemy. Even Bedford was
alarmed, and wrote a ' proclamation against the
tardy captains and soldiers, terrified by the en-
chantments of the Pucelle.'
The castle of Borenglise, between Compiegne
and Ressons, seems to have been her headquarters
at this time, as we find her often moving between
Compiegne, Senlis, and other towns, to fall upon
the Duke of Burgundy, who was now besieging
Choisy-sur-Aisne. The leaders were delighted at
her arrival, for she was worth a legion to them,
and they were all of them her personal friends.
Their object now was to succour Choisy. Jeanne,
Saintrailles, and others attempted without success
to force the passage of the Oise at Pont I'Eveque,
hoping by the capture of this place to cut off the
Monstrelet the Burgundian is the only writer
of the time who speaks of the Compiegne expedi-
tion and the fruitless attack on Pont I'Eveque, a
town situated at less than a mile (six hundred
toises) to the south of Noyon, which was defended
by a detachment of the English army. Jeanne,
Chabanne, Saintrailles, and others came with two
thousand men from Compiegne to attack the
English. The Burgundians, running up for the
defence of their allies, placed the French between
two fires, and they had to fall back upon Com-
They remounted the Aisne purposing to cross it
at Soissons; but, the traitor B our mel refusing them
admittance within the gates of Soissons, they
were compelled to take a retrograde circuit to-
316 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
wards Compi^gne, and the force gathered to
rescue Choisy dispersed. Jeanne returned afflicted
to Compiegne. This was very soon after the 17th
of April, for the duke laid siege to Choisy-sur-
Aisne immediately on the conclusion of the truce,
in order to clear his path for the capture of
Paris, La Charite, and Pont I'Eveque were
Jeanne's three failures ; against which we have
to place the fact that she took part in more than
twenty battles, fights, sieges, or raising of sieges,
without speaking of her travels. Berriat St. Prix
calculates that in fifteen months she travelled
over more than nine hundred leagues as the crow
flies, and, allowing for obstacles, twelve or thir-
teen hundred leagues, in the service of the king.
After it had been revealed to her at Melun that
she would be taken prisoner, she ceased to act
further on her own responsibility, but referred
nearly everything in the war to the will of the
captains. Although she was no longer acting
under the direct guidance of her Voices, her
presence with the army was a great moral sup-
port. She represented, only with deeper loyalty,
the heart of all independent France in her time ;
independent either in thought or in geographical
situation, Dunois and La Hire were faithful to
the kingdom, Jeanne to the king. It was hard
to them to see their life's work slighted, the king-
dom so gaily lost. A tradition preserved in that
country says that Jeanne made a pilgrimage to
the church of Elaincourt St. Catherine, one of her
patron saints, about the end of April, ] 430. This
is a romanesque church of the twelfth century.
Wallon attributes to near this date the story
of Jeanne being in the church of St. Jacques at
Compifegne, and standing near a pillar of the
church, where many persons and children were
assembled to see her. She addressed them, ' My
children and dear friends, I tell you that I have
been betrayed and sold, and shall soon be de-
livered up to death. Thus I beseech you to pray
for me, for never more shall I have power to
serve the king and realm of France.'
But we have no authority for any of the
legends of this time, save tradition and the little
book published early in the sixteenth century
called the ' Mirouer des Femmes vertueuses.'
Monstrelet, the only reliable historian, is too
decidedly Jeanne's enemy for us to hear from
him more than the barest facts, and these are
coloured by his animosity. The legend seems
to be a confused account of something that
really happened. One can only draw from it
the inference that she was much beloved.
Compiegne was the key of the kingdom on the
Burgundian side, and Jeanne fully understood
its value. On the 13th of May the Maid arrived
at the town, and redoubled the ardour and confi-
dence of the inhabitants by her presence. She
did not shut herself up in the town, but multi-
plied herself, in order to revive the zeal of those
who still upheld the cause of the king. She was
at Crepy on the 23rd of May, whither she went to
318 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC,
seek more men, whom she hastened to bring to
Compiegne, She gathered volunteers the more
anxiously that at Crej)y she heard that the Duke
of Burgundy and the Earl of Arundel were al-
ready come to sit down before Compiegne.
By midnight she had assembled from three to
four hundred men-at-arms, and, though they told
her these were very few to cross the enemy's camp,
' We are enough,' she said. ^ I will go to see my
good friends of Compiegne.' She rode off with
them at once. At sunrise on the 24th of May
she entered the town without loss or harm.
The ' EncyclopaBdia Britannica ' (1856) says :
^ The Maid threw herself into Compiegne contrary
to the wishes of the governor, who desired not the
company of one whose authority would be greater
than his own :' but this has been shown to be a
The Maid took the sacrament in the church of
St. Jacques on the 24th of May, 1430. When I
was at Compiegne on last May 24th, the tall fir-
trees groved round the altar of the Madonna
smelt very sweet, and the steps and the whole
altar elevation were a mass of white flowers. It
was a beautiful sight. But the renaissance
decorations on the marble facing and the modern
wainscoting all over the church give it a very
different aspect from what it had in Charles
VII. 's reign. In the roof of the choir of St.
Jacques the groined arches meet in a central
starry boss, as they do in Amiens cathedral.
The western tower was built for a much larger
church, or else this one was never extended the
full length of its plan. One sees the spring of
the arches that were to have been built. The
present west front is of the sixteenth century.
The choir is of the thirteenth century. A double
narrow triforium gallery runs round above and
before the chapels of the apse, which are of the
fifteenth century. In the fifth side altar to the
right, on entering from the west door, a painted
window represents Jeanne d'Arc receiving the
sacrament on the 24th of May, 1430. Her saints,
the Voices, appear above her, her standard waves
in the background ; she is clad in complete steel.
It was in this chapel that she received the sacra-
ment on the morning of the fight.
There is a bronze statue of the Maid in front
of the picturesque Hotel de Ville, with the in-
scription, ' JE YRAY VOIR MES BONS AMIS
DE COMPIEGNE, 1430.'
The town of Compiegne, itself defended on the
Burgundian frontier by the Oise, commands the
river and the valley which extends on the oppo-
site side in low water-meadows about three-
quarters of a mile broad, behind which a broken
wall of hills rises on the borders of Picardy.
The hills rise slightly on both sides of the river.
The Maid left the town about five in the even-
ing to assist in dislodging the enemy from their
positions. The town was far from being invested,
the enemy only holding the opposite bank of the
river. The Duke of Burgundy was at Coudun
on the Aronde, a league away from Compiegne to
320 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
the north ; Jean de Luxembourg was somewhat
nearer, at Clairoix, on the confluence of the
Aronde and Oise. Baudon de Noyelle com-
manded a detached corps at Margny, a suburban
village opposite Compiegne, at the issue of the
road from the bridge. The English were en-
camped at Venette on the west.
The Maid's plan was to take the village of
Margny, thence to pursue the dislodged Burgun-
dians to Clairoix, where she hoped to be victori-
ous, and then return to attack the English at
Venette. She reckoned on the people of Com-
pi^gne stopping the English at the road beyond
the bridge, in case of their falling upon her rear.
The plan was carried out at first as she in-
tended. She fell upon Jean de Luxembourg, who
was at Margny taking observations. He was
surprised with the rest, and driven back on
Clairoix, but, succours coming up, the battle was
disputed, and the result delayed. The English
moved forward to profit by the delay, but their
movement was foreseen, and the archers of Com-
piegne were so disposed as to render their passage
of the road difi[icult. Nevertheless, their move-
ment alarmed the rear rank of the Maid's force.
They feared to have their return cut ofl*, and,
flying towards the shelter of the town, they met
with the mischance they dreaded. The English,
encouraged by their flight, threw themselves
more eagerly upon the road, and were there pro-
tected by the flying soldiers themselves, as their
friends within Compi^gne were afraid of striking
them as well as the English ; and, on the other
hand, the Buro^undians fouo^ht still more strenu-
ously against those who remained with the Maid,
who was now wounded in defence of Compiegne.
Ah'eady her troops began to fall back, and insisted
upon her regaining the town. They turned and
fled in spite of her endeavours, and she could
only cover their retreat. Friend and foe crowded
together disputing the passage of the bridge, and
Flavy, the governor of Compiegne, fearing the
enemy might thus enter the town, raised the
drawbrido:e and shut the oate, leavino- the Maid
outside. Quicherat says : ' She was pushed, with
her friends, into the angle formed by the side of
the boulevard and the slope of the causeway.'
She was called upon by five or six men to yield
herself prisoner and to give her parole. She re-
fused to do this to the common men, and fought
on until dragged from her horse by the long
skirt of lier tunic. An archer pulled her violent-
ly ' par sa huque (casaque) de drap d'or vermeil.'
She loved the o^races and eleo;ancies of woman-
hood, and they proved a snare to her.
The archer was a man belonging to one of
Jean de Luxembourg's knights. Her brother
Pierre du Lys, D'Aulon, her squire, and Pothon
de Saintrailles, who never left her, were captured
at the same time. The spot of her capture, mark-
ed by the ruined tower called Tour de la Pucelle,
in the Rue du Meux Pont, is visible on the right
hand in entering the town from the railway.
Thus was the Maid taken at the gates of Com-
322 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
piegne, abandoned by those whom she came to
succour, where without her aid the governor
must have succumbed. Had he attempted an
energetic sortie he might have relieved the bridge
and saved the Maid, who was worth a province to
the French. People have cried out upon his
treachery in thus abandoning her ; it is his want
of courage and presence of mind that they should
blame ; the half-heartedness of which those in
highest places set the enervating example. The
^ Mirouer des Femmes vertueuses ' makes a long
story of Flavy's purposely shutting her out of
Compiegne, but it is little credible. William
Caxton, born 1412, the same year as Jeanne d'Arc,
prints the following concerning her : ' This mayde
rode lyke a man, & was a valyaunt capitayn among
them, & toke upon her many grete enterprises.
After many grete feates she was taken, & many
other capitayns with her, & judged by the lawe
to be brent. The othere capitayns were put to
raunson, & entreated as men of warre ben
The 24th of May, the eve of Ascension, was
that which saw her tide of fortune turn. A year,
as she had foretold, was her comet path from Ascen-
sion at Orleans till now. The next 24th of May
saw her condemnation to death at Rouen. Thus
says Lenglet de Fresnoy, ' She, ennobled, could
not surrender to the archer, but to the gentleman,
le Batard de Vandomme. Her presence of mind
pointed this out to her.'
Jeanne is supposed to have predicted her
capture, but she says plainly that, had she known
she would have been taken, she would not have
left Compiegne that day : and this is in accord-
ance with her habitual good sense. She affirmed
that she knew she should be captured before St.
John's Day, bub she knew not when or where.
She was prepared for captivity and death ; but
she could never have believed that her friends
would allow her to be sold to her enemies, and put
to death without raising arm or word in her defence.
Her history while a prisoner has been told by
MoDstrelet, chronicler of the Burgundian faction,
who was present with the Duke of Burgundy
when Jeanne was taken prisoner. She was con-
stantly watched by enemies eager to wrest every
word or act to her disadvantage, to be used
against her at her trial : a circumstance which
proves that her conduct during the year of her
imprisonment was well-nigh perfect, as good
and pure as her whole life was ; this year, upon
her enemies' own showing, was the crowning
beauty of her career. It is this which makes her
looked upon as a saint and martyr. She was
taken at first to the camp at Margny, and after
three or four days passed in the camp, Jean de
Luxembourg, from fear of rescue in keeping her
so close to the besieged town, sent her to his
castle at Beaulieu, near Noyon on the Vorse. She
was strongly escorted, as she refused to give her
word that she would not attempt to escape, hold-
ing herself always in readiness to continue her
work which was thus interrupted. Her route to
324 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
Beaulieu was most probably by the right bank of
the Oise to Noyon.
At Beaulieu she was parted from her faithful
friend and squire, Jean d'Aulon, whose deposition
in her favour is couched in terms of deepest
respect and admiration.
Lebrun de Charmettes says d'Aulon had ceased
to accompany her some short time after St. Pierre-
le-Moustier, so that he was not with her at
Fontainebleau and Lagny. I cannot find his au-
thority for this, and it appears certain from all
evidence that d'Aulon accompanied her from
Sully to Compiegne. I know it is difficult to
harmonise all the old historians' statements : one
can only do it by dates and a good map ; but I do
not find one of the later historians infallible.
Lenglet de Fresnoy places Jeanne's imprisonment
of four months at Le Crotoy as taking place before
she was taken to Beaurevoir, which is manifestly
absurd, and only to be accounted for by suppos-
ing he accidentally wrote Le Crotoy for Beaulieu.
Even the careful and admirable Quicherat in one
place says St. Pierre-le-Moustier was taken in
December, 1429, which cannot be reconciled with
his other dates, and can only be explained as a slip
of the pen. The lesser writers abound in mistakes.
I trust I have not as often laid myself open to the
Jeanne dwelt a prisoner at Beaulieu for three
months, from the end of May to August, Compiegne
holding out all the while. Meanwhile whose prize
was Jeanne d'Arc?
She had been taken hi the diocese of Beauvais.
Pierre Cauchon, the Count-bishop, came on the
14th of July to the camp near Compiegne to de-
mand her of the Duke of Burgundy as his prisoner.
The bishop, in the name of the English, offered
ten thousand francs of gold for her : the price at
which, according to French custom, the king had
the right to ransom to himself any prisoner, even
of the blood royal. The money was raised in
Normandy and in the conquered provinces, and
eventually paid as ten thousand livres tournois ;
61,125 fcs. 69cs. of our time (£2, 445 7d. English),
a large sum in the value of that period. The
French had eventually to pay the money that
England offered. They had better have supported
She said at her trial that her brothers had charge
of her property, her horses, and (she believed) her
sword, and effects to the value of ten or twelve
thousand crowns; she adds, 'And this is not a large
sum to carry on the war.' (' Ce n'est pas grand
tresor a mener la guerre.') The money belonged to
the king, she said. Her brothers held it in deposit.
Had she possessed much money, she would have
had more power, and she might have ransomed
herself. When asked if the king had given her
other wealth than the horse she rode when taken
prisoner, she replied she had never asked any-
thing of the king except good arms, good horses,
and money to pay the people where she lodged.
At Orleans, Blois, Tours, etc., they ordered
public prayers and processions for her deliver-
326 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D\iRC.
ance, but Charles, King of France, offered
nothing; for her.
The Archbishop of Rheiuis, in writing to his
episcopal town announcing her capture, calls it a
judgment upon her because she would not take
advice, but did everything according to her own
pleasure. Rewrote of how a young 'pastour'
from the mountains had come to offer the same
promises to the king as Jeanne had done, and
told them that God had suffered Jeanne to be
taken because she was puffed up with pride and
loved rich clothing, etc. This was convenient
and comfortable doctrine to those who did not
wish to be further troubled with Jeanne d'Arc,
nor by their own conscience. It seems to have
silenced public opinion.
Jeanne very nearly escaped from Beaulieu.
She was already outside the tower, and, to make
her flight more secure, she was just locking her
jailers inside, when the warder perceived and
recaptured her. The Lord of Luxembourg,
alarmed, took her to his castle of Beaurevoir,
near Cambrai, where it would be safer to keep
her than so near the scene of action. Leaving
the neighbourhood of Noyon, formerly the resi-
dence of Charlemagne and tlugh Capet, with its
exquisite cathedral, whose two tall towers were
alone visible to Jeanne, the troop with their
prisoner had the choice of two roads ; either the
one by Guiscard, thence crossing the ridge which
divides the basin of the Seine from that of the
Somine, and arriving at Ham. which is twelve
COMPIEGNE, ' 327
miles from Guiscard. (The castle of Ham was not
built until forty years later, that strong, dreary
donjon where Napoleon III. was kept for six years
a state prisoner.) Leaving Ham in its marshes
on the right and the village of Nesle on the
left, the road crosses the Somme by the very
ford which Henry V. crossed two days before
the battle of Agincourt in 1415.
Or else they followed the southern road, by
which the distance from Noyon to St. Quentin,
which lies on the road to Cambrai, is over forty
In any case, they must have halted at some fortress
on the way. The noble castle of Coucy lies most
conveniently for such a purpose, causing them no
great detour, if indeed they did not take the more
southern road which passes directly under the
walls. This vast model of a perfect feudal castle,
one of the most superb in France, towers above
the water-meadows of the Oise, proud as its
builder's motto —
' Roy je lie suis, Prince, ni Comte aussi,
Je suis le Sire cle Coucy.'
Coucy was then a castle of the Duke of Or-
leans. Saintrailles was governor of it for the
duke, who was still a prisoner in England. But
Saintrailles was now a prisoner himself, and the
castle, being impregnable, was taken by surprise.
Not at this time, we may presume ; but, even if
the little troop did not halt here, the castle could not
now have threatened the safety of their passage.
Coucy has the loftiest tower in France, and
328 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
four lesser towers. Its proud hall was filled at
that time with wonders of painting and sculptures
of sacred and historical heroes in white marble,
and between the two chimney-pieces was a raised
tribune remarkable for the beauty of its sculp-
tures, all the work of one hand. ' If I had not
seen it with my own eyes,' says Astezan, ' I could
not have believed that leaves and fruits and other
minute objects could have been sculptured out of
such hard stone.' The painted glass surpassed
imagination. ' In one room,' says Astezan, in his
piece intituled, ' De varietate fortunae,' ' are novem
mulieres probae : Semiramis, Thomyris, De'iphile,
Lampeto, Menalippe, Marpesia, Orithyia, Penthesi-
lea, and Hippolyta, admirably wrought.' The
Maid of Orleans was inferior to none of them.
^ The kitchen was worthy of Nero. They preserve
under the lead roof fish like in a fish-pond.'
There were three gradations of prisons (humanes
career) on the ground-floor for small ofl'ences, and
for crimes, a fiightful cell underground. Most
likely Jeanne was imprisoned in none of these,
but only strongly guarded in a tower. Coucy
is now the ideal ruined castle.
The road, after turning aside to Coucy, follows
the sandy flats and shallows by the Somme to
near St. Quentin, whose canal now connects the
Somme with the Scheldt, as it joins it on the
other side with the Seine, the Loire, and the
Atlantic Ocean. St. Quentin is built upon a
hill, a rarity in this part of the country. The
greenish-grey cathedral, with its flying buttresses
and hi^h rid^-es of slate roof, dominates the whole
district, itself overtopped by lordly Laon to the
south. There is a sweet Meralingesque fresco in
a side chapel of the cathedral, the second from
the door. Murray calls this one of the finest,
boldest, and purest Gothic buildings in this part
of France, and says it is less known than it ought
to be. St. Quentin is supposed to be nothing
but a manufacturing place ; but besides the
Flemish-Gothic Hotel de Ville, which is delight-
ful, the town is picturesquely situated. It un-
fortunately lies oiF the group of favourite Flemish
towns, and people do not care to stop here (nor
even at Laon, which well deserves a visit, on the
longer railway journeys). There are so many
places it seems better worth while to know.
There is a statue in the town, a female figure with
a spinning-wheel, defended by General Faidherbe
with his spectacles on. The verse of inscription
by Victor Hugo is as flabby as any local poet's
heroics, perhaps only worthy of our own street
From St. Quentin to Busigny is eleven and a
half level miles ; between Busigny and Cambrai
(a town whose chief interest lies in its name,
which is cognate Avith many pleasant ideas) lay
the castle of Beaurevoir, in the midst of woods.
Little remains of the castle of Beaurevoir beyond
the broken stone, carved with the eagle-supported
shield of John of Luxembourg, charged with the
two-tailed rampant lion, that forms the lintel of
a door. Here resided the wife and aunt of this
330 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'AHC.
lord of Luxembourg, who, the younger son of a
noble family, had been chosen for her heir by his
aunt, the Countess of St. Pol and Ligny. These
ladies were very kind to Jeanne, who won the
love of all good women. The old Countess of
Ligny implored her nephew not to sully by an
ineffaceable stain the imperial and royal shield of
Luxembourg, by delivering up the Maid of Or-
leans to her enemies. It was too late ; he had
already sold the Pucelle for a royal ransom.
She was confined in a very lofty donjon for
safety, a high tower girdled by space, in which
towns lay as misty islands, and in the ocean of
flat country round her Jeanne must have yearned
for her hills and sparkling floods of Lorraine, as
moon after moon arose and shone in silver calm
on this unbroken expanse. She was kindly and
respectfully treated, according to the rank she
had acquired, and not as a mere peasant ; but she
refused the women's clothes that were ofl*ered
her, saying she had not yet leave from the Lord
to wear them ; though were she permitted to re-
sume a woman's dress, which would imply that
she renounced her mission, she had rather do so
at the request of those ladies than any other
ladies in France, her queen alone excejDted. But
her work was not yet done. Nor was it by her-
self, but she had roused the spirit of France, and
the deliverance from a foreign yoke would be
achieved in time, even though she were ' crushed
by the ponderous machinery which herself had
put in motion.'
Doubtless she, who said no one could teach her
anything in spinning or in sewing, worked with
her needle with the ladies of the castle — at embroi-
dery, perhaps, as she had during the last fifteen
months learned many of the habits of noble
ladies, and she had not much clothins: to make
for herself. She could do these things skilfully,
and she liked to do them, but when reproached
at her trial for leaving alone women's work and
acting like men, she remarked, ' As for women's
work, there are enough women besides myself to
But her heart was far away — away with her
friends at Compiegne, still holding out for France.
She pined to be with them. She has herself re-
lated the spiritual combat between her wishes
and her visions, to which she had hitherto been
so obedient. Her Voices told her daily that God
would help her and Compiegne too in their ex-
tremity, but she must be patient. The painful
conflict lasted long, and when at last they told
her that the town was on the eve of being taken,
and the inhabitants put to the sword, she cried,
in a transport of grief and reproach, ' How can
God let die those good people of Compiegne, who
have been so loyal to their lord !' The struggle
between faith and knowledge was too strained,
and, recommending herself to God, she let herself
drop from the top of her tower, only aided in her
endeavour to clamber down by the climbing
plants that grew there. She fell to the pavement
of the court, and they thought her dead; but she
3S2 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
had only lost her senses and her memory, and
they had to tell her she had leaped from the sum-
mit of the tower, which was over sixty feet high.
For two or three days she could neither eat nor
drink ; but her Voices comforted her, reproving
her gently for her imprudence, and ordering her
to confess her fault and ask God's forgiveness for
her impatience ; they added, for her consolation,
that Compiegne should be relieved before the
winter. In a few days she was recovered from
The lord of Luxembourg, finding such a pris-
oner difficult to keep safely, delivered her over,
notwithstanding his aunt's remonstrances, to the
officers of the Duke of Burgundy in November,
THE PRISONER OF LE CROTOY.
' Priez pour raoi. Adieu.' (' Pray for me. Farewell.')
Jeanne (VArc to the ladies of Abbeville.
From Beaurevoir Jeanne was taken to Arras,
where it would seem she made some little stay
and was not very rigorously imprisoned, as at her
trial she speaks of a jDortrait of herself she saw
at Arras, painted by a Scot (Escot), or being car-
ried by a Scot, for the story is told both ways.
It represented her, fully armed, presenting a letter
to the king, kneeling on one knee. She never
saw or had done any other ' ymaige or painture '
of her likeness.
The three towers of Arras are visible for many
miles across the plain of Picardy. This tine city
has still quite a Flemish character, with its gable-
fronted Gothic houses terminating like those of
Ghent in scallops and scrollwork, and supported
on open arcades. Picturesque as is the toAvn in
many parts, few of its public buildings remain
as Jeanne saw them : the Hotel de Ville dates no
earlier than 1510; the cathedral is modern re-
naissance ; only a fragment remains of the earlier
334 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC,
cathedral, destroyed in the time of Robespierre,
born to be a dishonour to the town. The strong
castle on the Scarpe, where doubtless Jeanne was
confined, for she represented great commercial
and political value, is now one of Vauban's fort-
resses with lofty ramparts masked by tall trees.
From Arras to Le Crotoy the direct route lies
by Doullens, a strong fortress town on the Athie,
where, nevertheless, we do not hear of her stop-
ping, but her escort rested with her one night at
the castle of Drugy, close by the town and abbey
of St. Riquier, on the road to Abbeville. Of the
town are now^ to be seen only the ruined towers of
the ancient ramparts, and the Fontaine de ' Mise-
en-Deuil.' But the abbey of St. Riquier is well-
preserved and very splendid. It is one of the
historical monuments of France. This splendid
flamboyant Gothic church is, however, of the
beginning of the sixteenth century • so that
Jeanne saw very little of what we see in this
abbey. The choir may be of her time, and there
are some curious ancient frescoes on the walls of
the treasury. The provost, townspeople, and two
of the old monks of St. Riquier came to pay
Jeanne a visit of respect at Drugy.
Drugy is about six miles east of Abbeville,
which it appears they avoided, possibly not
wishing to encounter the expression of public
feeling which we may imagine to have been very
strongly in Jeanne's favour, from the circum-
stance of the ladies of Abbeville having come
to visit her at Le Crotoy. The present farm of
THE PRTSONEH OF LE CROTOY. ;335
Drugy is built on the site of the castle where
Jeanne d'Arc halted on the road from Arras to
Le Crotoy. The chapel-like portion of the build-
ing, with the pointed roof, is part of the former
castle. It contains a vaulted room, in which it
is said Jeanne d'Arc was imprisoned. They
passed close by the battlefield of Crecy. It is
curious that Jeanne should have made such a
near acquaintance with the most famous battle-
fields of the English in France, those nearest her
own time, too : Poitiers, Agin court, and Crecy,
while all the traditions of the fights were still
hovering warm about the localities. Of course
the objects of interest would have been pointed
out to her in taunt and triumph, if not other-
wise, or in mere curiosity to see how she would
like the recital. She would naturally have felt
deep interest in these scenes patriotically, if not
professionally, for arms were her profession ; she
too had been a soldier.
Perhaps, although a prisoner, she was yet among
sympathisers in this journey, for her escort,
though Burgundians, were yet Frenchmen, whose
homes were not so very far from hers ; therefore
they may have felt some sparks of national jea-
lousy against the victorious foreigner, as she was
only finally given up to the English on reaching
Le Crotoy about the 21st of November. Accord-
ing to local traditions, says Henri Martin, she
received lively expressions of sympathy from the
populations of Ponthieu.
The woods which remain here now are part of
336 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
the renowned forest of Crecy. These are a
change from the soothing monotony of the scen-
ery from Arras to Drugy, a landscape of a gauzy,
shimmering sort, a symphony in green and grey-
ish white, reminding one of the best French
etchings, white sky, white Avater written on by
rushes and branches, not painted with flowers
nor bathed in blue : a sombre scene laid in a
minor key, not rich, nor young, nor smiling :
with distance purpled down by memory's sad
sweetness, all full of easily-read and sympathetic
poetr}^ ; but few people and not much wealth of
cattle ; perhaps one goat to be seen browsing on
the rough ridge of a common. On the direct
road to Crotoy, at about two leagues from Crecy,
is Rue, on the river Maie, where we find another
certain trace of the passage of Jeanne d'Arc.
She must have passed through this small place,
a station on the Boulogne railway, which Murray
calls ' a poor and hitherto out-of-the-way town,
Avith an old church.' It is near the ford of
Blachetaque, where Edward III. crossed the
Somme with his army before the battle of
Crecy. Rue is scarcely more than a village,
yet it boasts a pretty Hotel de Ville, with four
round turrets adorned with spires and pinnacles,
all of an early period, and its church is one of the
curious old ' Monuments Historiques,' that they
preserve with so much care in France. This
chapelle du St. Esprit dates from the thirteenth
century, with additions in the fifteenth and six-
THE PRISONER OF LE CROTOY. • 337
As the church at Rue was a famous pilgrimage,
Jeanne's captors probably halted here, the more
especially as it lies about midway between Drugy
and Le Crotoy, and they may have let her visit
the chapel of the famous crucifix, which floated
here from Jerusalem (?) ! on the first Sunday in
August, 1109, when Rue was much more of a
seaport than it was even in Jeanne d' Arc's time,
as it stood on the tidal waters of the Male, which
came up much higher than they flow now. The
Male opens out into the embouchere of the Somme
at St. Firmin.
Thouo;h Louis XL and Isabel de Portuo;al had
not yet enriched the chapel, it was even then a
sumptuous place of worship for so small a town..
The legend of the miraculous cross is painted on
the walls ; the pierced screen to the chapel is
elegant, and the vaulting very fine and rich.
The stalls of the church, adjoining the shrine-like
chapel, are of fine old carving and the exterior
fa9ade is elaborately enriched. The chapel is now
only used for the neuvaines of Pentecost.
It is a good four miles from Rue to Le Crotoy,
on the Somme, where Jeanne was being taken,
on a white, winding road, with a blue level distance.
The irregular lines of trees are bent back with the
sea- wind, for it is a bleak country. This journey
gave Jeanne her first sight of the sea in its grey,
gloomy November aspect, cold and cruel as the
English over yonder. She arrived about the
21st of November at Le Crotoy, and was im-
prisoned within the castle, which no longer
838 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
exists, but which formerly, with its heavy mass
and frowning aspect, presented, we are told, great
resemblance to the Bastille at Paris. The castle
of Le Crotoy, according to an old drawing, was
an oblong, battlemented fortress with round
towers at the four corners, mounted on a fortified
pedestal with round bastions guarded by cannons.
Here Jeanne's friend, the Duke of Alencon, had
formerly been kept prisoner. This old castle has
entirely vanished, melted, they say, in the sand
of the sea; but the name Rue de la Tour
indicates its position.
The church is plain and strong like a fortress,
with a strong tower heavily buttressed, and hav-
ing long stone shoots to carry off the rain. The
body of the church is modern, of rubble-work
rough-cast with brick dressings ; but there are
elsewhere, and in its immediate neighbourhood,
remains of walls built of pebbles with brick-string
courses. The church stands on the rising ground
at the further verge of the town, or rather village,
of Le Crotoy. (It is a town because it has a
mayor, but it looks like a village.)
Beyond the town lies a long stretch of sandy
The view from the shingly beach is a curious
scene of mingled sands and river channels, which
are crossed on foot at low tide, with the assistance
of two ferries across the two larger streams, by
those who wish to reach St. Valery, nestling
among the wooded hills on the opposite side of
THE PRISONER OF LE CROTOY. 339
Down by the port, where the boats are drawn
up, is a bronze statue of Jeanne d'Arc in peasant's
dress with bare arms, gazing sadly across the
Somme towards St. Valery ; an image full of a
noble melancholy, more touching than many a
more famous statue. It was erected by the Maire
du Crotoy in 1881.
The inscription runs thus : ^ A Jeanne d'Arc.
A cette fille du peuple, qui, pleine de foi dans les
destinees de la France quand tous desesperaient,
delivra notre patrie en laissant un nom sans egal
' Ici la liberatrice de la France, abandonnee par
ceux qu'elle avait sauves est restee plusieurs mois
prisonniere avant d'etre conduite a Rouen ou
s'acheva son martyre.
'EUe aima tant la France; souvenons-nous
toujours, Fran9ais, que la patrie chez nous est nee
du coeur dune femme, de sa tendresse et de ses
larmes, du sang qu'elle a donne pour nous/ ^
The idea that Jeanne passed some months at
Le Crotoy seems incorrect, as the surest data we
possess name the time of her arrival here as the
21st of November, and state that she left here for
* ' To Joan of Arc. To this daughter of the people, who, full of
faith in the destinies of France when all despaired, delivered our
country while leaving a name unequalled in history.
' Here the liberator of France, abandoned by those she had saved,
stayed several months prisoner before being conducted to Rouen,
where her martyrdom was completed.
' She loved France so much ; may we French always remember
that our country is born from the heart of a woman, from her
enderness and from her tears, from the blood which she shed for us.'
UO FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARc.
Rouen the second fortnight in December. Her
trial began January 9th, 1431, three days after
her nineteenth birthday.
But Jeanne spent some v/eeks here, a peaceful
time, a rest for her, though sad, yet calm ;
beautified, like the whole of her life, with
lovely thoughts. She received great consola
tion from her Voices : as when examined on this
subject at the trial, and especially concerning
her visions of St. Michael, she says, ' I never saw
him often, and I have not seen him at all since I
left the castle of Crotoy.' But the female Voices
often visited her there and comforted her.
Her captivity was not rigorous : she was
allowed to go to church and to confession. A
priest from Amiens cathedral, who was staying in
the castle, administered the communion to her
and heard her in confession. Five ladies of Abbe-
ville, who came down in a boat to see the heroine
and bring her the sympathy of their town, were
admitted to visit her. She thanked these noble
visitors, and kissed them affectionately, recommend-
ing herself to their prayers as she said, ' A Dieu.'
Never again was she to hear human words of love
and sympathy ; never again on this side of the
resurrection. Wallon bears witness to the kind-
ness felt for her by women. That among all the
injuries to which she was subjected, not one came
from women. From them instances of admiration
alone are cited, and esteem for her whom they
justly felt caused no dishonour to their sex by
the dress which so scandalised the modesty of
THE PRISONER OF LE CROTOY. 341
men : a most absurd mock-modesty, when the
circumstances of her life are considered.
Besides these sources of comfort to the heart,
she was strengthened in her faith. The glad
news had pierced her prison that before St.
Martin (October 24th) Compiegne was succoured,
according to the promise of her Voices. ' Jeanne's
spirit had led her friends of Compiegne to victory,'
says Henri Martin.
Perhaps she was allowed to walk, under guard
of course, in the neighbouring roads and fields.
The country is pleasant hereabout.
I was much reminded of Jeanne's shepherd life
in Lorraine when, in returning from a ramble by
the fields of barley in blossom, three little lambs
scampered after me bleating. By-ancl-by a tall,
strong girl came to untether her cow ; the lambs
knew her, and ran gladly after her, leaving ofi*
their doubtful, imploring gaze on me. Here they
were certain of a friend, as she fondled them with
her hand before striking in the tethering peg
again with her heavy mallet. Jeanne the prisoner
had once been just like this girl.
It was not the season for lambs while Jeanne
was at Le Crotoy, but the ways and works of these
simple people must often have carried her back,
far back into that peaceful past, so far ofi" in
seeming, so little while ago in reality, blotting
out the brilliant scenes of her glory, and bringing
before her her peasant life once more, her mother,
father, kind uncle Durand Laxart, and her home.
How sweet the views are hereabout. The wet
M2 FOOTSTEPS 01^ JEANNE UARC.
sands, lustrous with the sheeny reflection of the
sun, the crumpled elms and oaks, the history of
their battle with the wind told by every writhing
limb, the golden grass before that aerial blue
distance of far-off shores and low peninsulas, so
out of the world, so remote from any book-learnt
geography, dotted with amphibious hamlets, only to
be reached barefoot twice in the twenty-four hours.
A stranger marvels how it is possible to cross
even to St. Valery, which is some miles nearer, the
river seems to wind so amono; the sands. One
hears of a ferry, and one expects the tide to rise
that boats may cross the waste of ribbed sands
intersected by water channels to St. Valery, set
in the woods opposite.
Jeanne could hear its bells as their music
floated over the waters, which then came higher
up than now : only at neap-tide then could the
river have presented its now peculiar appearance.
The mystery of the passage is solved on hearing
one has to walk across barefoot to St. Valery.
Every man (comme-il-faut) has a pair of high
boots, coming half-way up the thigh, in which he
can wade conveniently. Persons of inferior posi-
tion carry a net in which they put their shoes,
and, it may be, stockings. It is a refreshing
novelty in travel to cross these sands barefoot, by
turns wading in pretty deep water, and walking
over sands sometimes ribbed and firm, and hard
to the feet, sometimes softer and studded with
delicate shells, lilac, pink, or brimstone-coloured
bivalves opening like butterflies, and crabs at
play in the little channels of the tide.
THE PRISONER OF LE CROTOY. 343
The manners of the people are simple and
primitive as those of children. Crossing the
river barefoot is taken as a matter of course.
They would never themselves think of walking
(or getting somehow) to Rue and going round
to St. Valery by train.
There is first a narrow ferry, then, about a mile
off, (for the estuary is upwards of a mile wide)
there is another ferry across the main stream of
the Somme, whence once sailed the fleet of William
of Normandy bound for the conquest of England.
This tradition was of course well-known to Jeanne
Le Crotoy is really more on the sea-board than
St. Valery, for on this western side of the Somme
there are outlying lands, or islands, beyond the
sands seaward where the red roofs of Le Hourdel
can just be distinguished from the end of the
digue, built up of hurdle work and large pebbles,
at St. Valery, or from the highest outlooks of Le
Crotoy ; and the inhabitants may be seen wading
across to the more in-world parts for the business
or gaiety of shopping and visiting.
The fishing-boats are beached, all but a few in
the river channel, which are spreading their light
gauzy wings of large prawning-nets, bigger than
sails, to the breeze. These are stretched on
wide, slender, curved yards borne on a long pole
at the bows. Flood-tide alters the aspect of
the scene. Then one is truly at the sea-side,
whether at Le Crotoy or St. Valery. Standing
on the firm rising land by the Tower of Harold,
one can watch the flotilla of fishing smacks
U-i FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
come in, about fifty of them, all marked St. V.SS.,
sweeping up the river channel in single file,
their sails dark against the evening sky, all
laden with prawns and various fish. A flock of
eager women with creels, nets, and baskets hurry
down the pebble bank to secure the wriggling,
multi-coloured prize. The fisher-boys, with red
trows ers, carry nets full of fish slung on long
poles over their shoulders.
Did Jeanne, in watching this harvest of the
sea, think of that so different harvest, the
grapes and corn of her own sweet, sunny land?
Bishop Cauchon had also woven his net, and
was spreading it to catch her in his toils.
Now at flood-tide the Somme looks like a fine
river, and if one saw it firs't like this one would
not believe that one would ever walk or wade
across it. A few hours hence and the expanse is
all sand again.
For long Jeanne's eyes must have strained
themselves across to the church of St. Valery,
high set upon its round-towered platform, yet
embowered in trees, and traced its low, square
spire, its walls diapered with patterns in black
flint, its five gables standing seaward to the north,
and others east and west in this church of many
aisles, as the sound of its bells was wafted by the
south-west wind across the sands to the weary
prisoner at Le Crotoy, whom all had forgotten
save her enemies, as St. Valery's fleet of boats set
sail and returned daily, bringing no message of
deliverance or love to her ; and the sun set like a
THE PRISONER OF LE CROTOY. 345
shield of flame illumining the waste of sands that
spread like the wide stretch of a lasting captivity
before her young life, which was indeed to set like
that sun in a blaze of fire — dying gloriously.
I have tried to give a plain, truthful narrative
of Jeanne's travels, her mission, and her achieve-
ments as they seemed to her, whose unsophisti-
cated faith knew nothing of politics, of pro and
con, and disturbing coils of diplomacy, the froth
of statesmanship more often than its oil.
She held in view the simple right, as she was
shown it, and went to her task direct as the crow
flies, knowing no refinements of sophistry. Van-
quishing her own womanly weakness, she could
not overcome the weakness, the vacillation of
others, their indifl'erence, their sloth, their — per-
haps pretended — unbelief. She could conquer
the strength of the foe, but these cushiony weak-
nesses are always the greatest obstacles in the
way of a purpose. They exhaust more than
action, they wear more than friction, being like
the deep ruts of a heavy road.
These weaknesses (of others) were her real
enemies, as they always are enemies of the simple
Jeanne knew little or nothing of the history of
Europe, even of her time, but she knew and held
sacred her duty to her country and her king.
For a time she was the only one who brought
opinion to the test of action, until the eloquence
of her deeds roused the French nation from its
lethargy and the fatalistic doctrine of laissez-faire.
JOURNEY TO ROUEN.
'Rouen, Rouen, mourrai-je ici ! Oh, Rouen, j'ai grand'peur que
tu n'aies a souffrir de ma mort.'
Jeanne d^Ajx''s soliloquy.
One more journey remains for us to take with
Jeanne, it is the last. The order came at length
for the prisoner to be brought to Rouen there to
await her trial for sorcery, heresy, and rebellion.
This was in the second fortnight of December,
Jeanne was carried across the Somme at flood-
tide in a boat. This was more practicable then
than now, as the river was navigable, perhaps,
at all times. She was then taken to Rouen on
horseback by way of Eu and Dieppe. Notwith-
standing her presentiment that Rouen would see
her death, perhaps the change was not unwel-
come to her. Oh, how the return to horseback
must have revived her longing to escape ! The
road lay, as now, up by the wall-flowered ram-
parts of St. Valery (gay in spring with song-birds
whose nests are in the ivy), up through an arch-
way to the chequer-built Norman church with
JOURNEY TO ROUEN. . 347
its strong rectangular tower and deeply projecting
buttresses. A covered stairway leads from here
to the higher ramparts, towering above the plat-
form of the church, whence the view of Le Cro-
toy, with the site of its former castle, is only
a soft grey silhouette in the distance.
St. Valery abounds in picturesque objects,
ruined fortifications with crenellated round towers
and machicolated archways, as well as pretty
children and stately young women with fine hair,
and elder women with quaint coifs and caps.
The church, which looks like an outwork of the
fortress, stands on a broad pedestal of the ram-
parts that formerly extended far along the
heights. The lower bastions are built of pebbles
with string courses of hewn stone. The names of
Harold and William the Conqueror are household
words among the dwellings niched and nestled
in these ruined walls, notwithstanding that French
history insists that it was St Valery-en-Caux
which saw the mighty gathering of the Conquer-
or's fleet. It is a steady ascent out of St. Valery,
branching ofi* into pretty walks and avenues ; but
the road to Eu descends soon after to the level of
the shore, where one can make out somewhat
better the puzzling geography of the sea and
Among the wild-fowl found in the low grounds
here is the Canard Sarcelle d'ete : (Ana querque-
dula, Linn.) — a pretty little brown mottled duck
with black bill and feet.
It is about sixteen miles from St. Valery
348 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
to Eu, twenty-five kilometres by the measuring
stones. It is a rather monotonous road, exposed
to the full violence of the sea-breeze, between
St. Valery and Eu, pleasant enough in spring-
time, wdien the barley is in ear, when the
larks and thrushes, warbling above the fields
powdered on their banks Avith a short-stemmed
stitchwort, fill the stimulating breeze with
gladness, and the nooks and valleys are filled
with wild-flowers rejoicing in the clear blue
sky of France. But it had not this pleasant
aspect to the sad little cortege that followed this
bleak road in December, 1430.
At between five and six kilometres from St.
Valery begins the long, straggling village of
Sallenelle, set between exposed banks with trees
bare almost up to midsummer with the bleakness of
the situation, and bent by struggling with the wind.
Sallenelle is almost continuous with Lancheres
and Brutelles, a half-way village between St.
Valery and Eu. The long continuity of farms
and detached houses along the main road gives
this part of Picarcly the appearance of being
well-peopled ; but this populousness is confined
to the borders of the good high-road. The land
is well-cultivated, but of poor quality. Few
strangers pass this road ; there is no public con-
veyance. St. Valery once left behind, one must
needs walk to Brutelles, whence it is sometimes
possible to hire a cart to Eu. Past Brutelles the
roads grows absolutely dreary and still more
bleak, with stunted, leafless trees struggling
JOURNEY TO ROUEN. 849
against the biting wind in a poor soil alter-
nately composed of chalk and beds of clay,
peopled only by shepherds in long woollen cloaks
with crooks (and pipes) before the road turns off
to Ault St. Charles, a brand-new watering-place,
dismal enough in winter.
From the heights at length one looks down upon
E u, a town, they say, of eleven thousand inhabitants,
and Treport, with three or four thousand, a local
calculation which Murray upsets in stating it as
three thousand seven hundred and thirty for Eu.
But Treport is a populous place, and Eu gives the
idea of a larger town than Murray's calculation
warrants. Eu lies on the Bresle, which forms the
boundary of Normandy, at the foot of a steep
hill clothed in green woods, snug as in a nest
in the valley, which looks all the richer in con-
trast with the bare table-lands above. The town
has some groups of street architecture and wooden
crossbar-fronted houses that would please an
artist. Its picturesque church in the early -pointed
style is raised on a height in the centre of the
town, a rich brown church that they like to speak
of as 'the cathedral,' to which its apse, sur-
rounded with decorated flying buttresses, gives
much the appearance of one. Not far from this
is the red-brick chateau of the Comte de Paris,
where Louis Philippe once received our queen.
His well-kept park and plantations stretch nearly
to the white cliffs of Treport, whose dashing blue
sea, like sapphire fringed with silver, is visible in
peeps between the woods.
350 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
Jeanne d'Arc halted in En, she most probably
slept there, as it is thirty-two kilometres (abont
twenty miles) further to Dieppe, and there is no
place of security for a prisoner on the road, unless
it may be at Criel. The days were short, besides,
and darkness might flwour a rescue. The way to
Dieppe is up the steep hill beyond the present
barracks, and out on the Roman road w^hich ex-
tends straight as an arrow flight for about five
miles before it turns ofl* at an obtuse anorle
straight out again. The trees that line the roads
grow rather more freely here than on last even-
ing's length of road, as the soil is better. Colza
and barley are the principal crops. Public vehi-
cles ply (frequently in summer) between Eu and
Dieppe. The new road, marked by the kilometre
stones, branches off to the right from the straight
old Roman road, avoiding the more abrupt hill.
The old road was, of course, the one followed by
Jeanne d'Arc and her guard.
Descending the hill (on the old road) one comes
in sight of the small town, or village, of Criel.
The country is more varied here, with broken
chalk-hills pierced by caves, and a triangular dip
of the blue sea visible beyond the red roofs and
slates and spire of the village. Caravans of gip-
sies halt in the warm sheltered nook where the
hawthorn comes early into bloom, in quite another
climate from the piercing winter and scorching
summer on the exposed Roman road. The church,
on the nearer side of the bridge, was the same in
Jeanne's time. It has an irregular chancel with
JOURNEY TO ROUEN. 351
stone gurgoyles, crockets, and carved abutments,
and a low square tower. The churches seem
always especially connected with Jeanne d'Arc.
Where there was a church Jeanne found a friend,
and she entered it to worship w^henever she could
do so. The carved image of our Saviour signi-
fied a sympathy with her. Her escort may have
halted here, human nature is much the same in
all ages ; men liked a cup of cider and horses
required a feed then pretty much as they do now,
and the church and the inn lie near together.
Up a long pull of hill between banks of chalk
imbedded with flints. The country is very like
Wiltshire or Sussex. We gain the high ground and
the straight road again to Tocqueville (a name one
knows). How clearly and how far one can hear
the sound of distant footsteps before the people
are in sight, as Indians hear the trail. The
lark soars and sings above the waving barley
crops ; the sun-warmed breeze, the coolness of
mother-earth with her daisies, make all one luxury
as one rests upon the wayside banks. A shepherd
with his flock are near, and men are ploughing.
The Roman road passes Biville-sur-mer, another
oasis set in orchards and fertility ; another half-
way house from time pre-historical. It is a long
way from the beach, notwithstanding its name of
The inn is of the most homely kind, but from
its first-floor windows one can participate in the
life of the place, such as it has ever existed since
the iron age. A young countryman on a dapple-
352 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ABC.
^rey horse, bedightwith crimson woollen trappings,
rides up and shakes hands with the inn-keeper,
and everyone gives hiin a hearty greeting. It is
quite the country inn and rider of olden time.
An animated picture, with human interest in it.
The inn-keeper, just the man known to novel-
readers as the jolly host, is the fixed centre of a
changing circle. All are cheery, genial, glad to
see and note the traveller on the route and
mutually detail the news. All are glad to pass
and repass, sure of a welcome and God-speed.
Within doors the hostess prepares the ' cutlets of
bacon,' broiled on the gridiron, for the guests,
and hangs the basket of washed salad out to
strain. The children of the hamlet play whole-
somely outside, learning to be carters and horse-
men in their turn. The full-cropped ducks
waddle by, gobbling upwards to the oats that may
chance to fall as the horse feeds at his trough
yonder. The very game-cock, for all his gaudy
feathers, lives at peace with the other stag-birds
and the hens. The fields beyond the orchard are
sunshiny with yellow colza, whose golden ground is a
setting for silvery abeles and grey-powdered willows.
The other village children, who have gabbled their
catechism to the cure in the church, rush out to
play likewise, and learn, incidentally and in
playing, their duty to their neighbour after hav-
ing learnt their duty towards God in the church.
Oh, that our poor little creatures in London —
whom people, who do not pity and respect their
childhood, call ' gutter-snipes ' — had the roses and
JOURNEY TO ROUEN. 353
happiness of these really Avealthy children, who will
never become rich and wretched ; and, likewise,
their simple piety and love towards each other.
A big boy has just taken his little brother a ride
in a large toy-Avheelbarrow ; another boy attends
to pick up the pieces. Laughter and chat per-
vade all ages ; they seem so happy with each
other. Their happiness contrasts with our luxury
in cities, WTongly so named : this sort of life is
the real luxury ; if enjoyment of sweet air, per-
fumes, birds' songs, and laughter are pleasures.
To be able to sit at this open window, by the
rising moon, enjoying the balmy air of early May
is bliss indeed ! But we are free to go and come,
the sense of liberty and repose adds to the enjoy-
ment of this halt by the wayside ; while every step
took poor Jeanne d'Arc further from rescue,
further from her country, and riveted her chains
Off next morning early, driving ^ unicorn ' on
the Roman road with the bare trees on each side,
and the blue belt of sea to the right. Again the
road makes an obtuse angle at St. Martin, at
twelve kilometres from Dieppe, and darts off
straight towards the sea : another angle and
another, but the lines between them all straight as
arrows'-flights, each of several kilometres long.
Still we are on Jeanne's road, travelling with her
phantom. Look, out well, Jeanne, on the distant
cliffs beyond the sunny colza ; poor Jeanne ! you
will never see the glad country again. Here,
just below us, is the castle of Dieppe, fresh built
351 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
and terrible in Jeanne's time, with its cone-headed
towers and its bridge and drawbridge over a
chasm extendins; to the sea; then all new and
hard ; not picturesque as we now see it, softened
by time and age. The road descends into Dieppe,
broad and smooth from the table-land that breaks
off abruptly in white cliffs, keen-edged against the
blue. The smell of the sea wafts up through the
dirty fishing-port beyond the weather-beaten
brown church tower. The river Arques with its
tidal-harbour, is filled with fishing- vessels. The road
from Dieppe to Rouen lies in lower ground, where
the climate is more tender, and the vegetation
is never wholly asleep.
At St. Aubin there are larch and fir plantations
rising straight from the earth skywards, no longer
beaten back by the winds. This soft, well- wood-
ed, pretty country, with meadows and mill-
streams, must have smiled at Jeanne and seemed
homely to her. It was a treacherous welcoming.
The bleak Roman road above was like the Eng-
lish ; hard, stern foes Avho never pretended to be
otherwise ; this softer path leading to Rouen, and
to death, is like the cruel priests who seemed to
be her friends, to bear love for her soul, and yet
who tried to entangle her in her talk ; mostly too
her own countrymen, for the Bishop of Win-
chester was the only English prelate present at
her trial ; like these and the gay, faithless king and
court who abandoned her to her fate so soon as
she had served their turn.
JOURNEY TO ROUEN. 365
This is a land of plenty ; mill-streams and
orchards and tall, graceful, slender avenues deck
this part of the pleasant land of France, that
Jeanne, more than anybody else, won back for
her own people. These perhaps loved her still,
but the populace are ever fickle, besides, they
dared not uplift their voice. Black was their
rulers' ingratitude, for, after all, the benefit at
that time was theirs.
Longueville, Auffky, St. Victor, each greener,
sweeter than the last. There is a taste of spring
here even in the depth of winter ; even in the
dismal time, so near to Christmas, too, when
Jeanne d'Arc passed by here, so close on her
nineteenth birthday. But she saw not the full glad-
ness of the land : that was left for her judges and
captors to behold, the priests and great rich foreign
lords who swept by here proudly, on war-horses
and caparisoned mules, in spring, when the fields
were golden green, shading into blue in the wheat-
lands on the borders of the new-ploughed earth,
pinky like the under-side of a mushroom, chang-
ing to foxy red, then to chalk again, with sweeps of
wood and moorland which are now being brought
under cultivation. Thev saw it clothed in Nature's
sweet young soft May green, shot with golden
fires of planta-genista. The breeze that fanned
their faces lifted the broad soft young green
horse-chestnut leaves with no sound, neither did
the not yet crisp twigs of the apricot cause a
rustling. They might have felt Nature inter-
356 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
ceding with them for Jeanne d'Arc, so young
and brave ; but when did hard-hearted men ever
read Nature to learn charity ?
It is such a graceful country, elegant, if one
may so call it. And yet people say France is
ugly ; generalising in a narrow-minded way from
the strip they may have seen and carped at just
outside the railway.
This sweet tender country in May did not
soften the hearts of Jeanne's judges, riding
through it with grim purpose, gathering like
eagles to the slaughter of this one poor ewe-
lamb. And yet they looked and prayed for
mercy for themselves.
Malaunay and the busy manufactories existed
not then, nor was Rouen pierced by the fine
broad street that now proudly bears the name of
Rue Jeanne d'Arc. But the tangled ribbon of
the Seine wound then as deliciously among its
wooded islands as in this year of grace, 1885, and,
when moonlighted and exquisite with stars, the fair
scene bears much the same aspect as it presented in
Jeanne's time to a spectator standing on the slopes
outside the city. A few minutes later, and the
electric blaze is lighted, and everything is brought
forward into the glare of modernness ; reflections
from the lamp-clusters on the bridge make even
the water, the satiny Seine, appear turbulent.
It was a mercy that poor Jeanne d'Arc could
not see this view from her prison windows at
Rouen ; it would have recalled too painfully the
poplared islands on the Meuse, Few dungeon
JOURNEY TO ROUEN. 357
windows admit of much study of the scenery
from their cellar-like openings, and Jeanne was
caged and strongly chained in her toAver in the
castle, with irons on her feet, and bound by a
chain to a great block of wood. Nature neither
mocked nor soothed the Maid's sorrow with this
year's spring beauty.
Though much of Rouen's former picturesque-
ness has crumbled into dust and has been swept
away as lumber, still it can never quite lose its
fifteenth-century aspect while its close, busy
streets and thronged markets lead to its glorious
cathedral, where there is so much to be forgiven
(architecturally), and which is yet so beautiful:
entrancing as a dream as one enters its cool shades
from the scorching streets and mingles with its
devotion — in feeling, if not in fact.
Neither St. Maclou, nor the picturesque Hotel
Bergtheroude, which the common people wrongly
call Maison de la Pucelle, then existed ; they rose
into beauty a very little later. But go further
up the town, through wider, newer streets, and
behold St. Ouen that had just then begun to be
lovely, the rose and crown of decorated Gothic
architecture. Standing in its gardens, a thing of
beauty, behind the dense shade of horse-chestnut
avenues, all in flower and leaf, the lilac and the
may, ex,quisite in colours of white and crimson
and freshness, with busy gardeners carting huge
orange-trees beyond the beds of pinks, now one
mass of glaucous grass, enhancing all surround-
ing hues. This was the scene of the abjura-
358 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
tion which has caused righteous indignation in
so many hearts, by the mental torture here in-
flicted on the Maid. The two scafl'olds that we
read of, one for the judges and one for the falsely-
accused, were erected in the burial-ground of the
abbey of St. Ouen, between the central tower
and the west end of the church. This site was
only discovered in 1871, when the abbey cemetery
was unearthed in the course of the works then
going forward. Stand in the Place and gaze in
at the wide open doorway right through the
church. It looks such a sacred shade viewed in
this way, the shadowed altar seen thus from the
busy street, with the coloured windows above
the shrine. Surely one would say that the reign
of a milder justice had set in when that tran-
scendant choir was built.
Yet no, the choir was already perfect, and
the nave and tower of St. Ouen were still
in building when the March e aux Veaux, not
far beyond the shadow of its sacred stones, saw
the cruel death of the youngest of Christian
martyrs, after a barbarous imprisonment and a
trial in which they allowed her no advocate,
although she was a minor (quoiquelle fut mineure
d'age) ; and Rouen thought it honoured God by
building rather than by mercy. May her blood still
plead for France to the King of kings, whose
faithful servant she was, and may England be
forgiven her share in the patriot's cruel fate.
St. Ouen was commenced in 1318, and the
choir and transepts were completed twenty-one
JOURNEY TO ROUEN. 359
years after. The English wars delayed the pro-
gress of the building, which was resumed about
1490. St. Maclou was later, 1432—1500.
The cathedral at Rouen, which has been called
a 'romance in stone,' possesses parts belonging
to all asres. ' It A\^as created with a. total dis-
regard to all rule, yet so splendid and picturesque
that we are almost driven to the wild luxuriance
of nature to find anything with which we can
compare it.' The ghastly iron skeleton, called a
spire, is a modern atrocity.
Jeanne d'Arc was immured in the f^^reat tower
of Rouen Castle. It was the only tower of the
castle which existed in Lebrun's time when he
wrote : ' It has always borne the name of the
heroine, sometimes also that of " Donjon Tower."
For a long time it was thought that a little tower,
since destroyed, was Jeanne's prison, but it has
been shoAvn that this could not have been the case.'
Eight steps led up to Jeanne d'Arc's prison from
the castle court, and the room looked out on the
country. This old tower was destroyed soon
afterwards, in 1780.
The details of the trial, and her rehabilitation,
are foreign to the intention of this book, though
our knowledofe of most of the actual circum-
stances of Jeanne's life are gathered from the
trial, with its collateral inquiries. It is from
these that the Maid of Orleans emerges heroic,
victorious, and saintly, yet a woman still. The
fticts are more wonderful than the legends that
have overlaid and obscured her history.
360 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC.
Her resignation at the last is as remarkable
as her obedience from the first. After months
of neglect, Jeanne, still loyal at her trial, only
fired up when they dared to touch her king.
He was sacred to her : she might be condemned,
but he, at least, she said, had done no wrong.
The wrong, if any, she maintained, was hers, and
hers alone. Contrast this nobleness with his in-
difference. Charles, who held so many prisoners
in his hands, proposed not to exchange one of
note for her to whom he owed theni all. L'Averdy
says that the history of the Maid of Orleans
has been exhausted by a great number of writers
who have lightly read the original sources with-
out enough attention to the nature of the case
and to the forms which Avere followed.
L'Averdy 's work, which fills a thick quarto
volume, is styled, ' Historical and Critical Re-
flections on the Conduct of Charles VII. with
regard to Jeanne d'Arc after she was taken
Prisoner by the English at the Siege of Com-
piegne.' The title reads still more ponderously
in the original. Vainly trying to excuse Charles,
he tacitly accuses him. ' They say ' (? who say)
'that she had ceased to have the rights of a
prisoner of war, and could not consequently be
ransomed.' ' II est prouve qu'il (le roi d'Angle-
terre) en a fait V achate et non pas le r achat.''
' Jean of Luxembourg and the Bastard of Wan-
donne were forced to abandon her to Henry VI.
The English were enraged at seeing France escape
from their hands by means of a young peasant
JOURNEY TO ROUEN. 361
who declared herself minister of the will of
If Charles had burnt his prisoners in revenge,
the English mio:ht have done the same to the
Duke of Orleans. Reprisals once began, there
would have been a perpetual blood-feud. Then
also her judges were French, having at their head
the University of Paris.
L'Averdy makes this very important admission,
that not one Englishman took part in the case.
' II n'y pas un seul Anglais qui ait agi dans les
procedures !' He admits at last that however
powerful the reasons, and however difficult it is
to answer them, ' there remains however at the
bottom of the heart a secret dissatisfaction against
the inaction of Charles VIL' He speaks mildly.
So marvelling at this inaction, he dives again
for motives and brings up this pearl for his trou-
ble : that Charles believed she was a sorceress.
Then Charles was an accomplice of the pretended
crime of Jeanne, of which he reaped the fruit :
which was what the English wished to prove.
Jeanne felt this dano:er for her kino;, and defend-
ed him nobly, interrupting the orator to cry, ' By
my faith, with due reverence, I dare say and
swear to you, under peril of death, that he is the
most noble of Christians, who best loves the faith
and the church, and he is not such as you say of
' Silence her,' said the orator to the usher.
Noble, generous girl.
Her trials prove that Jeanne was sincere, that
362 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
she died convinced of the truth and reality of her
visions and revelations. ' The supposition of pure
chance appears to me wholly inadmissible,' says
L'Averdy, in speaking of the remarkable fulfil-
ment of her words and predictions on many occa-
sions, and the success which attended her measures
when she asserted them to be of heavenly
On January 9th, 1431, Jeanne's public trial
began, when she was just nineteen years of age :
on the 9th of May, after a searching and inquisi-
torial examination and a cruel and rigorous
captivity, she was threatened with torture in
order to force her into admissions against herself :
her judges having failed cluzdng these four
months of cross-examination to find justification
for a capital sentence against her.
Although the Duchess of Bedford (after being
assured by a jury of matrons of the virginity of
Jeanne) gave orders to the wardens of the prison,
and others, to do her no species of violence, yet
they kept her strongly fettered. ' They took her
from her cage (for trial) and drew ofi* from her
three pairs of irons. After the session, they re-
placed the irons on her feet.' It does not appear
that she was imprisoned in a cage after this first
examination : naturally the French historians
place her imprisonment at Rouen in its worst
lig-ht, and the customs of the time were indeed
very cruel ; especially Avould they be so to a per-
son of the lower orders, suspected, with such show
of reason, of witchcraft.
JOURNEY TO ROUEN, 363
The 24th of May, a year from the elate of her
capture at Corapiegne, saw Jeanne's abjuration
and release, both so-called : the 30th of May saw
her cruel death.
The whole sad tale of this young girl's grievous
captivity is beyond the scope of this book ; those
pathetic scenes of her trial, when Cardinal Win-
chester and even Bishop Cauchon, most cruel in-
quisitor of all, wept ; and one of the English lords,
a spectator, cried out, ^ She is really a good woman.
If she were but English !' I am obliged to leave
out her OAvn touching and beautiful answers and
conduct at her trial.
She was of those young souls early culled, while
flowers, for Heaven, their fruit to ripen in Para-
dise. Many aged saints have borne their fruit
here on earth. ' Heaven was made for those who
have failed in this world,' says Lord Carlisle,
and the word has consoled many. Jeanne
seemed to have failed here ; as many who have
w^orked in God's way seem to have failed, and
their failure is better than the worldly man's suc-
cess. The ardent spirit is at rest. There is no
more work for her on this side the resurrection.
But her work was done, so far as it was given to
her to do. She showed France the way of liberty,
of body and soul, and she won it for her people
through suffering : without Avhich no real blessing
is ever obtained. Jeanne suffered, but her country
gained freedom. Her last care was for her friends'
safety. Her last word, amid the flames, was
Jesus. Round what was left of her — a heap of
864 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC.
ashes — the residue of a beino: — rose her monu-
inent, Circumspice. Look round — on France, a
Faithful unto death, to her is given a crown of
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF JEANNE D'ARC.
' It is by means of such works' (bibliographies) 'that the student
comes to know what has been written on eyerj part of learning, that he
avoids the hazard of encountering difficulties which have already been
cleared ; of discussing questions which have already been decided ; and
of digging in mines of literature which have already been exhausted.'
— Dr. Johnson.
Early in life I possessed a chap-book with spirited cuts,
full of battles, with exciting sword-play of Talbot and
Dunois, of the Maid of Orleans with her banner, and her
king standing with ermine mantle a la George IV. at
Madame Tussaud's, with his best leg foremost. The ac-
companying verses were at least as much founded on fact
as other poems that have been written on the heroine.
The final lines (with the picture) fulfilled the mission of
tragic poetry and brought tears to my childish eyes. I
was no great critic at eight years old.
' 'Twas Rouen saw the closing scene,
Courageous died the guiltless fair ;
Her look, undaunted and serene,
Made England blush that brought her there.'
Later on, I read Lord Mahon's essay (from the
' Quarterly Review '), which contained the sum of all
that England then knew about the Maid of Orleans.
Indeed, at the present day, one may ask many persons
of fair average reading, ' What is your opinion of Jeanne
d'Arc V ' Of whom V ' Of Joan of Arc V ' Well, h'm,
ha, 1 really know next to nothing about her ;' and then
they cast about to remember what Shakespeare has
written on the subject.
Even the great Duke of Marlborough said, * Shake-
speare's historical plays are the only (English) history I
ever read in my life.' Some of us are in like case. For
many of ns Joan of Arc is a name, or at most the head-
ing of a pathetic fable.
The histories of England contain little beyond the
bare facts that she fought us and we burnt her, and in
this humanitarian age we are ashamed of ourselves for
Bastien Lepage's picture of Jeanne d'Arc gave the
finishing touch to my longing to learn all I could of her
myself, and now 1 wish to make other people know her
This book is the product of many journeys in France,
some two or three especially devoted to this end. I have
spared no trouble to examine things I hoped would be
interesting, and what I have set aside as being less
closely cognate with my subject would fill a book twice
Half being sometimes more than the whole, I have
refrained from anecdote and such of the Maid's personal
history and feats as have often been told before. Apply-
ing to my heroine the realism of the present day, I have
given prominence to the scenery of her actions; as this
often illustrates her deeds and gives them a solidarity to
our minds such as no narrative, save that of a poet — a
Walter Scott, for instance — or the vigorous verisimili-
tude of an eye-witness can convey. In trying to put
together collateral matters bearing directly on the
subject and in themselves interesting, 1 hope 1 have not
made it too much of a ' sausage-book,' which is my ab-
horrence ; though I fear I may be called a ' Grangerite.'*
There are French histories of Jeanne in abundance.
They have multiplied since Lebrun de Charmettes made
a good road through a mass of fragments of histories in a
* The ' Grangerites ' are the people who eiihirge a book, in itself of
little value, by inserting into its pages plates, playbills, letters, libels,
street ballads, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and anything bearing
on the subject matter of the original volume. The excuse for the
Grangerite is that he thus accumulates data for the future chronicler.
The horror of h m is that his work may multiply the sources of error.
complete and regular history of the heroine, pubhshed in
1817 : but in England we had nothing but what I have
mentioned, beyond the short and incorrect accounts in
the biographical dictionaries — except G. Ann Grave's
much-abridged translation of Lenglet du Fresnoy,
published in 1812 — until Miss Parr, sitting down in 1865
before the four volumes of Lebrun de Charmettes and
the five volumes of Quicherat, did for England something
the same as Wallon has done for France (allowing for
the natural ignorance of an Englishwoman as to French
topography and customs). She has sifted the evidence,
shortened the accounts of conflicting authorities, and
given us in a readable summary the life and death of
perhaps the most interesting woman who ever lived ; of
a figure, at all events, unique in history.
I have taken a totally different line of inquiry, and,
setting aside the bulky volumes of evidence, I take it
for granted that English people have read (or will read)
Miss Parr, or at least Lord Mahon, as most French
people have read Wallon ; therefore I need not go over
that ground again. Though I have found amply suffi-
cient data to make, I hope, an interesting story of the
heroine's life, mine must rather be viewed as a supple-
mentary volume to Wallon, or in English to Miss Parr,
as I leave out almost all that they have treated of; not
by utilizing their leavings, but by looking elsewhere for
material. Theirs is the indoor, mine the outdoor history.
There is no similarity between them
Among authorities I may not include the imaginative
writers, ranging from Shakespeare to the rhapsodists,
whose so-called biographies are ebullitions of the enthu-
siasm of 1820, Avhen Monsieur Jollois, superintending
engineer in the Vosges, gratified the public with a
glorification (in folio) of the tasteless little monument at
Domremy, then ' inaugurated ;' a word appropriately
consecrated to such themes. He gives a view of the
long since dried-up fountain, miscalled Greek, whose
shelving roof shelters the bust of the Maid of Orleans in
plumed toque and costume of the time of the Restora-
tion (in France), surrounded by the throng of fashion-
able people who waved their tear-bedewed handkerchiefs
dry at the ' inauguration.'
Southey set the example of honouring Joan of Arc in
England. His volume is in verse, and it is kindly,
complimentarily meant ; but it lacks the poetry of truth.
It rings false throughout and leaden : as a book it is a
creditable rather than a delightful possession. Southey
found a picturesque subject and dressed it up in fancy
costume of classic flow, like the then fashionable statues ;
taking his fanciful history from Caze, the worst guide
he could have had. Caze's pretended royal parentage
of Jeanne is nonsense, as is the whole of his history. It
is founded on sand.
One cannot expect real value from an epic poem written
at nineteen and published at tAventy-one, and Southey's
verse is very boyish and high-flown. Like Schiller he
evolved a Jeanne from his moral consciousaess, and from
reading a poem of Chapelain's called, ' La France delivree,'
which he analysed, and his epic grew out of a shorter
chimera of his owm which he called 'The Vision of the
Maid of Orleans.' Southey learnt better as he grew older
and read Lebrun de Charmettes, who quotes Caze only to
refute him. I read Lebrun de Charmettes from Southey's
own well-marked copy, dated Keswick, 1837.
For Schiller there is less excuse for having given us
a fictitious Jeanne, in that he had greater genius and
riper years. In thus painting the lily, gilding the
violet, he has shown what is less pardonable than error
of judgment in a poet — to wit, want of taste. He also
had read L'Averdy and knew the truth, therefore was
not privileged to go wrong. He has not improved his
play by his aberrations, else some might have forgiven
him in the interests of art. He has wilfully defaced one
of the loveliest stories the world has ever known ; one
which is poetry itself even when unadorned by verse.
The poem has become a common-place German legend.
In his glowing commentary on Schiller's drama, Carlyle,
who does not believe in Jeanne's pretensions, shows far
deeper appreciation of the beauty of her character than
Schiller, who believes too much.
The poets have each and all overstepped the bound-
aries of the most ample poetical license. Our Shake-
speare is the least to blame in this, as he uttered the
belief of his time and nation ; but for Voltaire, we can
only do to him as the Jews to the tomb of Absalom, take
up a stone and throw it behind our backs.
L'Averdy's work was already written and talked of
when Southey wrote. He was occupied with it in 1791,
but the publication was delayed, and no wonder, con-
sidering the condition of France at that time. L'Averdy
brings forward all the letters and MSS. relative to
Jeanne's pretended marriage and life after the scene at
Rouen, where, like a new Iphigenia or another Isaac, a
substitute is supposed to have been provided. Polluche,
commenting on the recital of the doyen of St. Thiebaut,
says, * The Maid after escaping from the hands of the
English, it matters little how,' (il importe peu comment).
Yet this is the most necessary thing to know. The
misplaced credulity of that age averred that by her
sanctity Jeanne escaped the fire, and they burnt another
believing it to be herself. Two persons are known to
have passed for the escaped Pucelle.
Quicherat has cleared up these things for France, but
the damage of a fable is its tendency to be perpetuated
by oral tradition till it seems to have become a truth, or,
at least, to be a respectable opinion. England owes
Jeanne too much reparation to prolong these errors.
Setting aside the poets, the over-credulous, and the
unbelievers, who maintain that the real Jeanne was an
impostor, I find the historians all follow each other like
sheep, until, like counting an imaginary flock in a wake-
ful night, one wearies of the vain repetitions and re-dis-
cussions of settled points ; the question of Jeanne's
inspiration emptying itself into each writer's preconceiv-
ed idea, leaving each unconvinced reader still of his own
opinion. I seem to know Petitot, who devotes to Jeanne
d'Arc more than half of the eighth volume of his ' Memoirs
relating to French history,' word for word; he has
copied, and he has so often been re-copied. It is one of
a chain of similar links.
Many of these writers, among others Berriat St. Prix
(highly complimented in his time), attach to a rhapsody
beginning, ' Femme illustre et infortunee ! Voila done
la recompense de tant de services et de vertus !' &c. &c.,
a list of authors and quotations from their opinions,
making as pleasant reading as any other unclassified
Half of everybody's book is filled with the trial,
370 ' APPENDIX.
oftener this is two-thirds ; half of the remainder is made
Tip of rhapsodies and apostrophes.
The information on collateral points of Jeanne's
history is voluminous. Besides Quicherat's five octavo
volumes of the two trials, there are five volumes by A.
Renard on the name of Jeanne d'Arc and if she was
French, besides many smaller works on the history of
her family. The dissertations on the particle and
apostrophe (D'Arc, Dare) would fill a large volume.
There are six printed columns of works on Jeanne d'Arc
in the British Museum catalogue, mostly French and
Latin, next most Italian, some German, few English.
Quicherat's important work, ' The Trial and Rehabili-
tation,' with notes, was judged worthy of being
published by the Societe de I'Histoire de France, 1st of
August, 1841. This is in five volumes ; one on the
condemnation, four on the rehabilitation. Concerning
Jeanne d' Arc's life, history is nowhere built on better
evidence. She was the subject of four trials, of which
the two last great trials (proces) were one for her and
the other against her ; arraying the powers of both
church and state for her condemnation and rehabilita-
tion. Better evidence cannot exist ; it was gathered
from every source with most careful (or malicious)
minuteness. This was written in the old law Latin for
the trials ; Quicherat (in 1841) has digested the Latin
text and added elucidatory notes. Each brick is well
laid, and the reader possesses herein not only the
evidence, but also the original text of every contempo-
raneous author, and can collate them easily ; that is,
presuming he can read the Latin, the old French, and old
English. The notes are pleasant reading.
Lebrun de Charm ettes, in 1817, had already con-
densed and translated many of these documents into
French ; yet, sach is the upsetting power of legend, in
almost every record of Jeanne written of late years, we
find inexactitude, on every inscribed tablet a wrong
date, and succeeding writers have always followed the
wrong indications. Lebrun and Quicherat would seem
to have laboured in vain.
Even our ' Encyclopsedia Brittanica' of 1856 was
weak enough to follow word for word a trashy bio-
graphy compiled for the newspapers, when it would
have been almost as easy to copy authentic documents.
The very short notice of Jeanne d'Arc in the ninth
edition (1879) has few or no errors, it has been shorten-
ed by having the errors cut out, while httle or nothing
has been added or altered. Hume, who follows at
second-hand the text of Monstrelet, the Burgundian, is
wrong in every date he gives.
Walcknaer, in his ' Biographic Universelle,' says no
history rests upon such authentic materials as that of
Jeanne d'Arc, because of the juridical testimony of the
two trials. He does not include the trial at Poitiers,
which I consider highly important. It would be un-
natural if authors, even of the period in question, agreed
in each particular. The writings of the holy evangelists
themselves do not tally — whereby we get a wider truth.
The sacred historians do not always speak in unison.
The result is a harmony, a complete chord : or, if an
apparent discord should occur, remember, a resolved dis-
cord is the most exquisite of musical effects. I doubt if
the special correspondents of our newspapers would
agree in the same features of the self-same campaign ; yet
each one would give his individual quota of fact, and we
should gain the broad general impression of the truth.
When Lebrun de Charmettes wrote (in 1817) France
possessed no complete and regular history of the heroine,
for we cannot call such the Latin work (incomplete) of
Hordal, nor Richer s unpublished MSS. which had been
pillaged by Lenglet du Fresnoy. L'Averdy s immense
work, drawn from the MSS. in the Bibliotheque du Roi,
was written ; but if already published, which is doubtful,
Lebrun de Charmettes does not seem to have referred to
it ; nor to the * Becueil Historique,' published in 1806, by
Monsieur Chassard, which is but the maimed verbal
copy of L'Averdy's work, in which positive documents
were for the first time brought to light. As Lebrun de
Charmettes says, 'After all, it is Jeanne d'Arc herself
who seems to relate her life and plead her own cause,'
BO carefully were her answers taken down at the trials.
Her own words are her best history, and her monu-
ment. She wrote nothing, but she lived, spoke, and
worked, and died for her faith, which she beheved in to
the point of martyrdom. How few of us can plead one
quarter as much !
Other books on Jeanne cl'Arc are as difficult reading
as swallowing a wineglass-full of sand. All authors are
short on the subject of her journey to Chinon ; even
Wallon only devotes two pages to it ; most of them skip
over the one hundred and fifty leagues like grasshoppers,
the rest clear them at a bound. Cuvier-like, one can
often construct a chain of story on the evidence of
what must have heen^ as he constructed an organised
animal from one authentic bone. This journey is a case
in point, as indeed are many of Jeanne's journeys, for
she travelled much and kept her eyes open. No one
has hitherto followed her in her journey from Sully
to Melun. She is here completely lost to history.
This is a point that proves the value of the geo-
graphical treatment of liistory. Monsieur Jollois, in
his * Abridged History,' calls Monsieur Berriat St. Prix
remarkable for the science and scope of his researches.
One is disappointed on reading his work, which has
been over-praised by the polite flattery of a contempor-
ary. I thought I was the first to trace the heroine's
route and follow her step by step through her career :
but there is nothing new under the sun, and my book
was nearly finished, the rough copy complete, when I
discovered Berriat St. Prix was my forerunner in this
I flew to consult his work, for instruction, of course,
yet hoping in my inmost soul he had not preoccupied
my ground. He had given a map, a poor one, few
places were marked on it and the rivers ran wrong,
meandering in lines of beauty at their own sweet will.
I picked him to pieces. In Berriat St. Prix's map Coudray
Tower is a long way off in the wrong direction, south-
ward of Chinon, and in his text he sends this luckless castle
flying three leagues to the north, beyond even a Chateau
de Coudrai which has nothing to do "svith Jeanne's
history. This Tower of Coudray has already been a
stumbling-block to me with several authors, the father
of whose errors I had now found. He had also mistaken
St. Florent-le-Vieil, between Angers and Nantes, for St.
Florent-les-Saumur, another pitfall for succeeding his-
torians. From this I opined that Monsieur Berriat St.
Prix did not know the country, that he chiefly travelled
in his arm-chair, or slept in the coupe of the diligence.
In high glee I still further worried my author and con-
firmed my opinion that his intention was better than
his work of the Itinerary : of which he daringly exclaims,
' Voila un ouvrage entierement neuf !'
He had the thought of it, I admit, so had I — some
sixty years later. I think I am the first to walk in
Jeanne's actual paths, and I can fairly say that my book
was not hatched in a museum library. Berriat St. Prix
takes the materialistic view of Jeanne's character, while
Lebrun de Charmettes looks upon her entirely as an in-
The plates are the most important part of Monsieur
Jollois' work. He gathered up the current traditions
of the department of the Meuse, where he superintended
the erection of Jeanne's monument.
Mrs. Bray's book is an abridged translation of Henri
Martin's ' History of France,' flavoured with extracts from
the 'Chronique de la Pucelle.'
One might make a genealogical chapter of the writers
on Jeanne d'Arc something in this manner: Lenglet du
Fresuoy, son of Bicher ; Petitot, son of Denis Godefroy ;
Lebrun de Charmettes and Quicherat are parents of
Wallon, their son and heir, and a daughter. Miss Parr,
My intention has not been to write the life of Jeanne
d'Arc at all, but to give a general view of the country
through which she passed, in its present condition ; dwell-
ing most on the objects upon which her eyes rested, and
Avhich helped in their measure to form her character, as the
geographical and strategical features . of the country
moulded the plan of her campaigns. I do not pretend,
nor propose to describe the sieges which have been so
often written of before, and I give no account of the
great trinls which form the bulk of literature concerning
the Maid of Orleans. Does anyone care to see what she
saw, and share the thoughts that may, or must, have
passed through her mind in viewing so large a portion
of the fair land she fought and died for'? If so, let
them follow the route traced in my map, and they will
find as much varied enjoyment as in any other line of
travel, with health and the pleasures of sympathy.
GENEALOGICAL TABLE OF WRITERS.
' Books do contain a progeny of life, as do those who bring them
forth.' — Milton.
Perceval de Cagny, 1428; Gui de Laval, 1428; Jean
Chartier, 1429 ; and most of the other writers of the fifteenth
century arc given in full in Quicherat's valuable work. Lebrun
de Charmettes gives Astezan (1435).
1429. — Jacques Gelu, Archbishop of Tours, and in 1427 of
Embrun, wrote his treatise on the Maid in 1429- It is MS.
in the library of the late King of France (1812) Biblio-
1431. — Monstrelet lived at Cambrai. Hume copies Mon-
strelet through Rapin Thoyras. Shakespeare follows current
tradition inimical to the Maid.
1661. — Denis Godefroy, historiographe de France.
1714 — 78. — Voltaire follows a vicious fancy.
1753. — Richer's unpublished life of Jeanne d'Arc is the first
composed from authentic sources ; from him comes Lenglet du
Fresnoy. He says of Rapin Thoyras, the most esteemed his-
torian of Jeanne d'Arc in England, that he had not seen the
proces of justification, but only Monstrelet and not the other
historians of Jeanne's time.
1791. — L'Averdy, Academician, declares Lenglet du Fresnoy's
work tres mediocre.
1798. — A vision of the Maid of Orleans. South ey.
1801. — Schiller's drama of the Maid of Orleans. Entirely
fictitious, though he had read L'Averdy.
1806. — R. Southey published his epic poem of Joan of Arc.
1812. — G. Ann Grave abridged and partially translated
Lenglet du Fresnoy.
1815. — Chalmers' ' Biographical Dictionary.' The article
might then have been better written.
1817. — Berriat St. Prix follows Tripaut and L'Averdy,
whose work he calls ' tres precieux,'
1817. — Lebrun de Charmettes published his fine work.
1819. — Petitot (published 1825), follows J. Chartier, Denis
Godefroy, &c. He devotes more than half of the eighth
volume of his ' Memoirs relating to the History of France from
Philip Augustus to the beginning of the seventeenth century,' to
1821. — Jollois' ' Abridged History of Jeanne d'Arc' He
follows L'Averdy and Lebrun de Charmettes. He says Chaus-
sard's ' Recueil historique et complet ' is only an extract of
1825. — Carlyle's 'Life of Schiller,' first edition 1825, second
edition 1845, third edition 1872 : treats at some length of Joan
1841. — Quicherat's great work published. He prints the
writers of the fifteenth century in the original text with notes.
1848. — Henri Martin devotes a great part of the seventh
volume of his ' liistoire de France ' to Jeanne d'Arc. He
follows Lebrun de Charm ettcs and his own fevered brain. He
has written a valuable history of France, however.
1851 . — Gorton's ' Biographical Dictionary ' follows Chalmers in
its calm, its errors, and its impartial views ; though the earliest
Avriter is ^naturally) the longest and wrongest.
1860. — Wallon's work crowned by the French Academy.
The edition of 1876 is beautifully embellished.
1866. — Miss Parr's ' Life and Death of Joan of Arc' com-
piled from Quicherat, Lebrun de Charmettes, and Wallon.
Other writers are mere romancers or rhapsodists ; nobody's
1882. — Joseph Fabre. His thin duodecimo ' Life of Jeanne
d'Arc ' is one of a series of small books called, ' Ecole de I'homme
et du Citoyen.' This book is a familiarised Wallon without the
religious feeling. Though an ardent admirer of Jeanne, he
shows her in black and white, politically and patriotically only.
Religion coloured Jeanne's whole life ; thus it is a false view, a pen
and ink sketch of a person whose chief beauty lies in her colour.
1885. — Florence Caddy follows object lessons and the cross-
country roads. Which is her apology for putting forward the
hundredth work on Joan of Arc.
This list and my sheaf of British Museum tickets
represent a considerable amount of reading (much of it
is in old French v^ith antiquated type), besides a number
of books read in France at the recommendation of the
Abbe Bourgaut and others. Yet I trust my book will
be found to smell of the hayfields rather than of the
reading-room. I have sought my building materials in
their native quarries, in museums only the mortar that
holds them together.
' The gradual building-up of primitive history is, in
my eyes, to the full as interesting and as fruitful a
process as the extension of physical sciences which
attracts a thousandfold more attention.' — W. E.
LONDON : PRINTED RY DUNCAN MACDONALD, BLENHPHM HOrSE.
3 1197 00021 1810